'Think Before You Ink' Law May Put a 24-Hour Waiting Period on Tattoos, Piercings
The city's health department proposed a 24-hour waiting period for body art.
Sept. 8, 2013— -- Washington, D.C., lawmakers are considering a plan to save people from themselves by putting an end to those late-night stumbles into a tattoo parlor for some fresh ink or a piercing.
The city's department of health proposed a 24-hour mandatory waiting period for people who want to get a tattoo or a piercing, citing public safety issues, according to draft regulations released Friday.
The law would force body art businesses to "ensure that no tattoo artist applies any tattoo to a customer until after 24 hours have passed since the customer first requested the tattoo," according to the draft regulations. The same would apply for body piercings.
Prospective customers would need to sign a questionnaire to disclose conditions that might affect the healing process, including pregnancy, diabetes and herpes, the regulations said. Body artists would also need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated for hepatitis B and would have to undergo biohazard training.
While the proposal could protect customers from health risks as well as from regrets about impulsively going under the needle, some local body artists are worried the mandatory delay may affect their bottom line.
"One of the cornerstones of the body art industry has been the walk-in service," Fatty Jessup, the owner of Fatty's Custom Tatooz told ABC News. "By eliminating the walk-in service, you're essentially killing the business."
Even customers are crying foul, saying people need to take responsibility for their own decisions.
"If somebody wants to come in as a walk-in, they're going to pay for the service. That's on them." one customer said. "If they regret that decision down the road, that again is on them. It shouldn't be up to the shop to regulate people's poor decisions."
But parenting expert Tammy Gold told ABC News the proposal could be advantageous when it comes to talking with your kids about getting inked.
"This wait and hold time will do such wonders for [children's] ability to protect themselves if they're not sure they if want to do it, and a parent's ability to protect them, to say, 'Let's register and then let's give ourselves 24 hours to really talk about it.'"
The public has 30 days to comment on the proposal before it could potentially become a final regulation.
City officials have not immediately responded to ABC News' request for comment.
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