Tattoo ArtistsAs if Washington, D.C. isn’t tyrannical enough and don’t have serious problems to deal with, it looks as though bureaucrats in the nation’s capital have decided that instead of dealing with real issues with real solutions, they’ll continue to go after freedom. DC’s Health Department has decided that they will begin to pursue a mandatory 24 hour waiting period for any individual who is looking to get a tattoo in the District.

The proposed rule, which you can see below, deals with tattoos, tattoo removal services and anything labeled as “body art,” including piercings and jewelry. These provisions are referred to as the Body Art Establishment Regulations.

Of course, like everything else, these measures are put out with the intent of “safety.”

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One of the almost comical statements is that Department Officials believe that the new rules would prevent “serious health risks.” One would have to ask just how serious the health risks are now to assess just how effective such rules would be, but we don’t have to do that because this isn’t the real reason behind the new rules.

According to Department of Health spokeswoman Najma Roberts, it’s really about keeping stupid people from making stupid mistakes. She said she believes that the new measures would prevent people who were intoxicated from making the decision to get a tattoo while in an inebriated frame of mind.

She said, “They can’t be responsible for themselves, as well as the person doing the work on them. We’re making sure when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning ... saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?'”

So would that be like those “tattoos gone wrong” pictures we see floating around the internet where words are misspelled and such? Seriously, if a person gets drunk enough that they decide to go and get a tattoo that he or she doesn’t want, then that person deserves to have it as a permanent reminder of their stupidity. A law won’t change stupid.

According to the Washington Post, there are many tattoo parlor owners and artists who say they are being unfairly targeted.

It’s “honestly ridiculous,” said Paul Roe, who operates Britishink, a tattoo parlor on H Street NE. Roe, 45, testified in favor of a D.C. Council bill allowing the Health Department to regulate body art establishments because rules setting standards on hygiene, record keeping and licensing make sense, he said.

The waiting period, he said, does not.

“Why not 24 hours’ waiting time before shaving your head?” he asked.

Gilda Acosta, an artist at Fatty’s, said roughly half her business comes from walk-ins, so the proposed rule would hurt.

“It would definitely be a direct hit to my income if I couldn’t tattoo people who come in and want work done on the same day,” said Acosta, 32, who has been tattooing for a decade.

Roe stated that most reputable tattoo shops turn away customers that are visibly intoxicated. He believes that codifying that practice would make a lot more sense that preventing sober and consenting adults from getting tattoos or piercings on demand.

“Simple regulation is effective regulation,” he said. “Overregulation will kill the profession and drive it underground and make it less safe for everybody.”

Furthermore, since this does relate to piercings, what will keep the local Wal-Mart or other jewelry stores from telling mothers that they will have to wait 24 hours for their little girls to get their ears pierced? Once you start down the slippery slope…

Seriously a 24-hour waiting period for a tattoo is ridiculous, and the same includes piercings, but hey, these are the same people that don’t want you walking around with your firearms and making you jump through all kinds of hoops, including waiting periods for purchasing a firearm, so there really shouldn’t be a surprise.

My suggestion to residents of Washington, D.C. is to do one of two things, and that is either elect freedom-loving people in the District (if you can even find any) or get out.

While concerns for the use of needles and such should be an issue for parlor owners, artists and those getting tattoos, a 24-hour waiting period to have it done seems a bit overboard, and I agree with Mr. Roe’s conclusion that it will lead to driving some of the tattoo business underground.

My guess is that if you tried to put a 24 hour mandatory waiting period on an abortion, all hell would break loose.

Here’s the proposed regulation (66 pages!). You can download a PDF copy here.

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Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.