Banning Tattoos and Piercings, Arkansas Senate Passes State Ban on Forms of Body Jewelry

By on August 21, 2013

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.

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  1. Natalie

    August 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    • Mike

      August 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

      But it’s still ok to bang my cousins right? Whoooo Hooooo!

  2. Bil

    August 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    actually this is not unusual. derpal punching and scarification pose significant health threats and in some states are considered surgical procedures which would required licensed medical techs to apply them. this is not news nor is it oppression. its a clearly drawn line that arkansas feels is important enough to push legislation on.

    • p-dawg

      August 22, 2013 at 2:44 am

      Why should surgery be any different than body modification? If a moron wants Dr. Backalley to operate on him, who are you to gainsay him? It’s not your body. I guess you favor undoing Roe v Wade, too huh? Since you like telling people what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

  3. abe

    August 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    read it…. still seems like they are trying to tell people what to do with their body… i have tats and have had piercings but im not into the dermals… but that doesnt mean its ok… stop telling people what to do just because of your beliefs… abortion, gay marriage, instead of forcing your religious/personal beliefs on everyone how about you just mind your own business, are these people really doing anything to hurt you? have you found dermals in your food or something? government has no right to be involved in our marriages and your religious views shouldnt stop someone from having an abortion or whatever else you disagree with… people just need to mind their own business and ignore things you dont like and everyone will be a lot happier. no need to get all worked up and pissed off and in such tissy fit that you are going to make a law to stop someone from putting what is essentially permanent jewelry on their body… hoow about we make a law separating church and state so that religious principals dont get made into law and forced upon others… oh wait, that already exists

    • Jersey

      August 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      we must have read two different articles, nothing in what is written in the above article says it is due to any form of religious beliefs.
      Perhaps instead of standing on the proverbial soapbox and spouting out a rant that is of your own making, you try to fully understand what the topic is about. Which is,in laymans terms about making sure those that do the dermal implants and scarification,are licensed and well trained so the recipient doesn’t develop any form of infection. It is a matter of health and safety. It has nothing to do with whatever religion an individual follows.

    • Marcia

      August 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      yeeesss!!!…let Sodom & Gomorrah burn in their sins…


    August 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    @ARSenMissyIrvin stay out of the free market and people’s personal lives! Isn’t that what conservatives believe in, or did at one time?

    • dwindle

      August 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Funny how every one loves having a big commanding government up until the point it interferes with their own lives. If Obama can force you to buy health insurance against your will, Arkansas can make it illegal to drill holes in your head.

    • dwindle

      August 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Arkansas is a blue state. Nothing that even resembles Conservative beliefs of free markets have ever crossed state lines, which is probably why no one ever creates jobs there.

  5. Bil

    August 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    reading this again im a little disappointed with the author for twisting this. all of arkansas points are completely legitimate. they could just outright ban tattoo shops and piercing shops altogether. they want to assure the safety of their citizens. certain dermal piercing technique are illegal in california as well, many of which are done in the shop after hours behind locked doors. im not sure about scarification but again burning flesh in california leads me to believe its most likely illegal (correct me if im wrong). this article represents the facts in my opinion incorrectly

    • Admin

      August 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      If you voluntarily consent to burning your flesh then how is that illegal? Why should the state be involved with your personal choices regardless of how smart or stupid they are? You’re merely saying that because you disagree with someone’s “poor” choice, (in your opinion) the state should be involved with regulating and banning that choice.

      • Azran

        August 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm

        The state shouldnt get involved in my choices should I decide to shove 5 grams of coke up my nose either.

        • wygit

          August 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm

          Very true. How wise of you.

          (Well, not about shoving coke up your nose, but about the state getting involved)

    • Will

      August 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

      regardless of the legitamacy of any points made, the bill is an outright violation of our 1st amendment right. Furthermore if looked at right is an obvious show of discrimination against those that want these types of body modifications as well as discriminating against those trying to make a living performing these procedures.

  6. Matt

    August 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Smoking, drinking, McDonalds, bacon, and driving cars. All of these things are dangerous to the citizens of Arkansas and should be banned.

  7. Crystal H.

    August 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    If you read the actual ACT that has passed and signed into to law, you will find that it does not band people from being able to get dermal implants. What this act does is clarify the definitons of terms in the current law. They have also claified who can perform them.This law is for public safety. Physicians are now the only one that is allowed to do curtain things. I heard that it was because their have been a lot of people messed up by ‘artists’ that didn’t know what they were doing. Lots of really bad infections and horrible scaring.I really think that’s a good ideal,don’t you? I’m not sure what this post means when it says it bans some ‘non’ tranditional tattoos. I do not see anything in this law that bans you having anything done. How it can’t be done, who is not allowed to do it curtains things and changing some definitions, is all I see is in this law. Because of artists that are causing so much harm they have had to make more regualtion. On bad apple can spoil it for everyone,right? Just for your understanding,when you read the law below, the line through the middle of a sentence is what the law use to say. The underlined sentences is what it was changed to. Hope this helps to stop some of the rumors.

    • Admin

      August 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      If people are getting injured because they’re seeking services from a sketchy business then that is their own fault, not mine and not anyone else’s. Let the market come up with voluntary, efficient solutions to these problems, not state intervention. As far your mention of “non traditional”, that is no where in this article and in fact, you are pulling that from another article on another website. “I do not see anything in this law that bans you having anything done. How it can’t be done, who is not allowed to do it,” – “Because of the artists that are causing so much harm they have had to make more regulation” – way to contradict yourself.

  8. gothchiq

    August 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Follow the money. More regulation = more licensing = more fees paid to the state. It’s not about the good of the public, and even if it were, the nanny state is already quite intrusive enough, thankyouverymuch.

  9. Terra

    August 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Should ban airplains, motorcycles, cars, and mopeds. Very dangerous riding around on those things. While we’re at, it lets get rid of electricity and medications. Wouldn’t want over dose or get electrified. Just because harm can about doesn’t mean we should ban it.

    • Will

      August 22, 2013 at 9:27 am

      lets not for get banning all things people are allergic to , oh and maybe they should put a ban on bad hearts dont want anyone dying from a heart attack. they should just require us to walk around in bubbles that will keep us safe right? charge us an outrageous price for the bubble and a ridiculous fine for not having one.

      • Will

        August 22, 2013 at 9:31 am

        and lets not forget to ban the U.S. military . thats a dangerous situation, can’t have that. everyone will need to switch to electronic forms of everything because they have decided after banning everything else papercuts are now the most dangerous thing we will face

    • Won't

      August 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I think we should ban fast food, nothing healthy there.
      Then professional sports…players are always getting hurt…lets put a stop to that!
      Next, we need to stop Monsanto from genetically engineering our food, no one really knows what the long term effect of THAT will be, just because they want Joe Farmer to HAVE TO buy new seed every year making them more profitable.
      I see a pattern here…IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY! big business, lobbyists, and government money! Not entrepreneurial money.

  10. jgkojak

    August 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I have no tattoos or body piercings and frankly find the idea repulsive personally. But what happened to getting the govt out of our lives? Isn’t this a decision individuals have to make themselves. I’d understand if it was an age 18 or age 21 limit, or a zoning issue, but this seems like over-reach.

    Wouldn’t there be a constitutional test for this as free expression?

  11. Abel

    August 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I read that monks at one point lit themselves on fire has a sign of protest against tyranny. Looks like those monks and anyone that wants to follow their example will have to hire a tech now.

  12. off the chain Tattoo

    August 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    This is just one more example of government dictating what is and isn’t “good” for us. A lot of the older generations don’t understand what tattoos and piercings mean to some people. Self expression is all we have left. I understand that it can be dangerous if not performed by skilled artist, but banning it is not going to stop it. Banning it is just going to make it more dangerous because if someone wants this type of body mod they will attempt to do it themselves or have a non-professional doing it for them in their kitchen somewhere.

  13. runbei

    August 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    It’s a form of Tourette’s that most politicians contract upon being elected – symptoms include a compulsive desire to generate obscene legislation, purely so that they can feel noticed, useful, and busy.

  14. Darrell

    August 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    > Besides civil liberties advocates and the tattoo industry clearly opposing a law, which would cripple self-expression…

    That’s right. Because if you can’t have a tattoo on your ass, all freedom of self-expression would be nulled. Crippled, even.

    • A1rh3ad

      September 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

      I hope that isn’t sarcasm because it is very true. Banning tattoos sets a very tyrannical precedent.

  15. kyme32

    August 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    and chiping ppl with credit cards and id cards in there hands are not between them am i?
    who the fuck came with this dumb idea?what a retard…
    let me ask that mo’fo who came with this idea, are you gonna check my penis?because i’m gonna put it in your fking mouth to feel my jewelry!!!

  16. Matt Sweeney

    August 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

    The headline states the bill has passed, yet it’s clear from the text it hasn’t. I understand the drive for page-views, but that is ridiculous.

    Your website has absolutely NO credibility whatsoever.

    • Admin

      August 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Hey Matt blowhard Sweeney, the local Fox affiliate reported the bill as passing through the Senate and even when I tried getting in contact with either sponsor of the bill, no one picked up. How about you go take your nonchalant, dictative-self and figure out for us, since you know everything.

  17. Mike

    August 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Both of these procedures can be done on religious grounds (Piercings and scarification have been used by various religions since the dawn of time) and they are personal choice, like religion, so I don’t see how Arkansas (my home state) can ban something like that constitutionally. I think making the people who do preform them have adequate training is a fantastic idea because we’ve all seen crappy tats and infected piercings, mostly in high school.

    I don’t care if you want to try and snort 5 grams or 5 pounds of coke, just don’t leave your house afterward cause coke heads tend to be almost as annoying as smack heads. I don’t think anyone has any right to regulate how you express yourself but they do have the right to say who can assist you in expressing yourself.

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