Another call to action

The vote is on I believe Tuesday, so this one is urgent. As I linked in the diary entry below, New York is attempting to re-ban tattooing. Click here to read the bill.

If you're in New York, you can click here to find out who your representative is — contact them directly. If you're not in New York, you can contact the writer of the bill, Sam Colman at 845-624-4601 or 518-455-5118 or via email at Below is a copy of the letter I sent to him and almost every other assembly member as well. Feel free to adapt it for your own purposes:

Dear Sam Colman,

Cc: Assembly Members

In regards to Bill A07900 (sponsored by Colman), regarding the prohibition of tattoo studios operating within a one thousand foot radius of schools, parks, playgrounds, churches, and places of recreation, I raise my strongest objections.

While I do believe some level of legislation is needed to ensure that body modification studios meet minimum standards to ensure public safety (for example, the use of an autoclave to sterilize tools), I'm not at all sure what you are attempting to achieve with this prejudicial law.

The requirement for tattoo studios to keep distant from schools and parks achieves nothing positive. Laws are already in effect banning children from being tattooed, so you are only left with the concern that studios are showing minors "adult material". Why make this specific to tattooing? Ignoring the fact that I have never seen a tattoo studio present public advertising that is somehow inappropriate for minors, targeting this advertising specifically to tattoo studios is grossly prejudicial. This is a matter of public decency law and needs to be applied to all business. In addition, it is a law that should be applied to the nature of advertising, not to the entire existence of a business.

You also raise the concern that tattoo studios should not be located near drinking establishments. Again, ignoring the fact that most tattoo studios have strict policies forbidding their artists from working on anyone suspected of being intoxicated, why is this specific to tattoo studios? I am far more concerned that there are parking lots located within 1000 feet of practically every drinking establishment. This doesn't force the parking lots to be banned -- it simply enacts laws forcing people to drink responsibly. Why not simply enact a law banning a tattoo studio from tattooing drunks, rather than enacting an unfair law that penalizes thousands of responsible business owners.

Finally, my point of largest concern is the banning of tattoo studios near churches. This is a very dangerous and frightening first step -- the law should never be dictated by the moral objections of religion. A church has the authority to tell its congregation to avoid tattoos, but attempting to force its doctrine on the rest of the community is not only unethical, it is illegal under the constitution. Additionally, as a minister in the legally recognized Church of Body Modification, I am deeply concerned that this law in effect sanctions one religion in its attempt to commit an act of genocide on another. Would you allow the Catholic church to ban Buddhist temples within 1000 feet of them?

In any case, I hope you understand that while I'm sure this law is well-meaning, it is far too broad. If there are problems that you have identified with a small percentage of tattoo studios (such as the inappropriate advertising, or unethical tattooing of drunks), please do institute laws to protect the public from them. But dont create laws that protect people from dog bites by killing every dog. Dont create laws that protect people from building bombs by eliminating science classes from school. Tattoos are a positive influence in the lives of millions of Americans (one in ten Americans are tattooed), and ultimately, something that they have a right to pursue, and something that tattoo studios have a right to offer responsibly.

If you would like assistance or advice on drafting a replacement law, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Rev. Shannon Larratt
Minister, Church of Body Modification
Publisher, Body Modification Ezine

If you'd like it, here is a list of email addresses of other members which you can CC to. I don't know how many will read their email before the vote, so PLEASE call your local representative as well, if not Colman himself.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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