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Banning Tattoos and Piercings, Arkansas Senate Passes State Ban on Forms of Body Jewelry
by Ezra Van Auken
For body piercing and tattoo shops that enjoy the state of Arkansas, your time there may be limited. Believe it or not, the state is looking to ban certain styles of both, and many are objecting to the measure already. Senator Missy Irvin introduced the bill, which hasn’t been given a title although the Senate has dubbed it SB 387. Aside from the fact Sen. Irvin wants to ban a style of tattoo and piercing, the legislation also expands regulation over the industries.
Specifically, Irvin’s 387 bill would slap a state ban on scarification tattoos as well as dermal implants. Scarification is the burning, etching or branding of an individual’s skin with whatever assortment of letters or patterns that comes along. On the other hand, dermal implanting is a type of body modification where an individual receives a piercing using a hook under the skin to then attach whatever jewelry resting on the outside of the skin. Artists have no reason to smile either, the bill passed the Senate 26-4.
In terms of putting more regulation over the piercing and tattoo market, Sen. Irvin’s bill states the artist must work “in a body art establishment licensed by the department for at five (5) years and been in compliance with department rules governing body artists;” in addition, the artist must be licensed by the Department of Health and registered by the State Board of Private Career Education. The industry is steps away from seeing Irvin’s legislation turn into law as the House adopts the measure under Deborah Ferguson.
Besides civil liberties advocates and the tattoo industry clearly opposing a law, which would cripple self-expression, market-anarchists believe state regulation is just as inexcusable, especially in this situation. As long as the relationship between tattoo and piercing services are voluntary to the consumer, free marketers see no problem with the transaction. And for little guy businesses, whether it’s young adults starting a shop, applying for licenses and spending money you don’t have is more than a hassle.
A question one may wonder is – why shouldn’t consumers be allowed the freedom to purchase what they like without the government’s continued interference? The role of the government was never to regulate the action’s of the people, whether they believe it is for their own good, or not. Free marketers espouse the value of self-regulation and self-ownership in order to allow freedom of choice to the consumer. If you want an unusual body piercing or tattoo and find somebody willing to do the procedure, then the government should stay out of the business arrangement.
Unfortunately, the invasive nature of Irvin’s legislature is the complete opposite and once again assumes authority over your health and safety. The State Weekly contacted both Irvin’s office and Ferguson’s office, but received no response.