City Desk

Want a Tattoo? D.C. Might Make You Wait 24 Hours

The District may be giving New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's nanny state a run for its money with its latest tattoo and piercing policies.

The Department of Health posted proposed regulations Friday for tattoos and body piercings in the District. Tucked on page 11 of the 66-page document is a draconian idea (at least in the stereotypically spontaneous world of body art) that would require a 24-hour waiting period between the time a customer requests a tattoo or piercing and when they can actually get it.

If passed, this would rank the District's body art regulations among the strictest in the nation.

The regulations would also prohibit minors under 18 from getting any sort of body art, except ear piercings. But even if minors want to get their ears pierced, they'd have to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at the time of the piercing. Minors would be prohibited from even setting foot on the premises of a body art establishment unaccompanied.

So has a proliferation of drunken Washingtonians getting offensive tattoos and piercings on a whim necessitated these new laws? Or is D.C. just going Puritan? No idea, and officials at the Department of Health haven't yet answered calls for comment. Maybe they're all out getting inked up before the rules take effect.

The department is taking comments from the public for the next 30 days. To submit one, contact Angli Black at (202) 442-5977 or, or mail them to Office of the General Counsel, Department of Health, 899 North Capitol St. NE, Room 547, Washington, D.C. 20002.

Photo by Matt Dunn

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  • Paul Roe

    The PROPOSED regulations are in need of an extreme scrubbing and the regulatory bodies are aware of this.

    Over regulation for the sake of regulation only restricts the public's right to choose and the practitioners right to make a living.
    Industry standard practices have been established in most states and local jurisdictions that are non-intrusive and will benefit both client and practitioner.

    DC will be regulated within the year with sensible and more importantly, understandable regulations. This isn't difficult to do, just time consuming and laborious.

  • MLD

    Dumb - what's the compelling reason for government regulators to try to save people from bad decisions that affect no one else?

  • chris hauser

    66 pages. golly.

  • Corky

    Just ban face and neck tattoos! Nobody in his or her right mind would ever get one. Please protect them from their own stupidity.

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  • Typical DC BS

    Yes, another case of government nannyism. Just what DC needs to prove it's capable of being granted statehood (snort). Solves a problem that doesn't exist. Why do these people get to keep their jobs after proposing something like this?

  • DCNative

    As our nanny state grows and grows, the next set of proposed regulations will be concerned with consensual sex. I can see it now, a 24 hour waiting period prior to any sex act.

  • Mrs. D

    Since all of my work is custom - which generally requires more than 24 hours to produce and perfect before application - this doesn't impact me. But it's still stupid. And, it seems, completely unfounded. Did a guy at the Department of Health hear of a guy whose cousin's roommate's brother got a tattoo and then was like "man, if I had to wait 24 hours, I wouldn't have made this mistake?" If they're concerned about drunk people, then make it illegal to tattoo an obviously intoxicated person...wouldn't be the first place to ban tattooing drunks. Otherwise, adults need to learn to think about the consequences of their actions.

  • Tim Corun

    If you are a responsible adult capable of making your own choices regarding your body, please take a minute to sign.

  • Charles Johnson

    Wow, is the government going to make a law stating they have to whipe my ass after I use the bathroom since they want to be are mommy's and daddy's so bad?