Lawmakers Look to Restrict Parents From Getting Kids Tattoos

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Should parents be allowed to let their kids get a tattoo regardless of how young they are?

It's a question some state lawmakers are asking, because right now there is no age limit as long as there's parental consent.

Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, says state social workers have seen an increase in cases involving small children coming in with tattoos, with several having symbols believed to be related to gangs.

"I find it very troubling we'd allow a hole in the law that would allow parents, in my opinion, sort of abuse the children," Anderson said.

The legislation he's pushing, which he says has bi-partisan support, would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to get a tattoo, whether a parent wants to sign off or not.

It would also place similar age restrictions on body piercings, but would exempt ear piercings.

Geary Morrill, a tattoo artist at "Eclectic" in Lansing says he's seen young children with tattoos and he personally hasn't been willing to tattoo minors in years.

His shop follows their own set of standards.

"We were under the impression this law was already enacted," Morrill said.

"We were basically already telling people if they're under 16 we don't do that... telling them it was state law."

In fact, Morrill doesn't think the proposed law would go far enough. As a parent himself of two young girls, 16 is still too young in his eyes.

"I don't know of many 16 year old who can look back at the decisions they were making when they were 16 and think to themselves 'yeah I really had it figured, those were good decisions,'" he said.

Anderson said so far there are 18 other states with similar laws already on the books.

The bill is still being debated in committee.

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