Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

State of Confusion

January 5th, 2009 by

While some states have few, if any, laws governing tattooing, (Not a very bright idea if you ask me.), others turn the entire process into a gauntlet that only the most determined artist would attempt to navigate. Case in point, one of the last, if not the last, states to lift their outright ban on tattooing; South Carolina.

David Cowles of Kowulz Design seems to think so as well and has so far collected 1352 cyber signatures on his petition to attempt to clean up this spaghetti tangled morass of contradiction, and outright attempts to make it all but impossible to obtain a tattoo licence, or establishment in S. C.

To be fair there are a lot of laws in the S. C. statutes that most every tattoo artist could agree with. Such as autoclave sterilization, and sterile procedures to be used. How ever there is also quite a few “roadblocks” that makes one wonder just how much homegrown the legislatures were imbibing when they finally decided to lift the tattoo ban. For instance:


SECTION 44-34-20. Establishment of sterilization, sanitation, and safety standards; licensing; engaging in other retail business.

(C) A tattoo facility may only provide tattooing and may not engage in any other retail business including, but not limited to, the sale of goods or performing any form of body piercing other than tattooing.

Kiss those t-shirt, and tattoo aftercare products good bye, gang. Oh, and let’s not forget, don’t get caught selling any tattoo mags, or body jewelry either. Also if you happen to be a body piercer as well as a tattoo artist, you’ll have to get a separate business. I just hope it’s next door to your shop, or your going to waste a lot of energy running back and forth.

SECTION 44-34-60. Inspections and complaint investigations; display of license; verification of age and parental consent; actions by under-age recipients.

(C) A tattoo artist must verify by means of a picture identification that a recipient is at least twenty-one years of age or, if the person is at least eighteen years of age, has parental consent. For purposes of this section, “picture identification” means:

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but even in South Carolina isn’t the age of consent 18?? So your old enough to have sex, join the Military, buy a house, buy a car, but you still have to get Mommy and Daddy’s permission to get a tattoo??!!

To add insult to injury: (D) A person who has his or her body tattooed while under the age of eighteen in violation of subsection (C) above may bring an action in the circuit court against the person convicted of the violation to recover actual damages and punitive damages plus costs of the action and attorney’s fees.

OK??? Even if you are under the age of 18, you are still adult enough to bring legal action against a tattoo artist without parental consent, but not old enough to get a tattoo until you are over 18. This may sound redundant, but….What The Fuck??!

But wait, it gets even better.

SECTION 44-34-100. Unlawful acts; penalties.

(A) It is unlawful for a person to perform or offer to perform tattooing upon a person under the age of twenty-one years or, if the person is at least eighteen, does not have parental consent.

So, given that up to eighteen you must have parental consent, what the Hell do you do if you are nineteen, or twenty?? Wait until you are twenty-one? Do you still need parental consent?? Are you left in limo contemplating the merits of a Dragon, or a Skull??

(E) It is unlawful for a tattoo artist to tattoo any part of the head, face, or neck of another person.

Excuse me??? Now, I’m a bit old fashioned and don’t personally agree with someone’s decision to get a tattoo in those areas, but Cheese and Rice! It’s their body, it should be their decision. I may inform them of possible social implications, but it is not my, or anyone else’s place to forbid them to do it.

(F) A person who violates a provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined up to two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned up to one year, or both.

Remember, this is on top of any civil suit sixteen year old little Johnny may legally bring against the artist without parental consent. Is it just me, or is this starting to sound like an episode of “Weird Laws”? My money is on both in the fine department.

SECTION 44-34-110. Restrictions on location of tattoo facility;

(A)(1) The department must not grant or issue a license to a tattoo facility, if the place of business is within one thousand feet of a church, school, or playground. This distance must be computed by following the shortest route of ordinary pedestrian or vehicular travel along the public thoroughfare from the nearest point of the grounds in use as part of the church, school, or playground.

(2) As used in this subsection:

(a) “Church” means an establishment, other than a private dwelling, where religious services are usually conducted.

(b) “School” means an establishment, other than a private dwelling where the usual processes of education are usually conducted.

(c) “Playground” means a place, other than grounds at a private dwelling that is provided by the public or members of a community for recreation.

By these definitions just finding a place to open a tattoo studio would be next to impossible. What the fuck do they think is going to happen? Half the congregation is going to have “Jesus Saves” tattooed on their ass as soon as Sunday School lets out? Little Sally is going to have “Property of” done on her arm during recess? Maybe a couple of eight year olds will get bored with the tether totter and think it would be cool to trot across the street and get a cool Grim Reaper on their chests.

I wonder what the Bible belter’s would say if they were forbidden to set up a church within a thousand feet of a adult theater, a bar, or a Starbucks?? (Believe me, Starbucks is evil. You have to be to get people to believe that 4 oz of crappy coffee is a “tall” coffee, and worth over $5.00.)

OK, I’ve had my fun, but on a serious note. It would probably be worth your while to take a look at the petition, give it a read through, and maybe help out a few artists in South Carolina……..God knows, with lawmakers like this, they need all they can get.

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