Update: Tattoo shops coming to Jeff City

Wild West Tattooz in Apache Flats.

UPDATE: Jan. 19 10:30 p.m.:

Tattoo shops - which have been banned in Jefferson City since 1979 - will now will be allowed to open.The ordinance, which passed in a vote of 8-2, gives some optimism for new business in the city."I hope that spirits stay high about it and I hope that people keep a positive attitude about it as the artists are gonna take it seriously, said Quinten Rice, who supported the change. And we'll be a lucrative professional business in the community."After much debate, the council made some provisions.Some of the regulations are:

  • Shops must have a permit.
  • Can only be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • There can be no illuminated lighting, like neon signs.
  • Have to be inspected every six months.
  • The store has to blend in with surrounding buildings.
  • One percent of gross receipts, or at least $500, has to go towards the cost of inspection and licensing.

Council members Bob Shcrivner and Bryan Pope, both from the 3rd Ward, voted against it.Many times these things are done randomly without much forethought and individuals do regret this, said Pope. Ad the paradox is because it is called body art they, in my opinion, get a pass doing irreversible procedures on the human body."

The bill was sponsored by Councilwoman Carrie Carroll.Carroll said although she does not have any tattoos, she decided to bring up the issue again as times have changed and new business would be good for Jefferson City TMs economy.

UPDATE: 10:15 p.m.

The Jefferson City Council has approved for tattoo establichments to set up shop in the city. The vote was eight to two.

Original Story:

Tuesday night the Jefferson City council is poised to vote on whether to allow tattoo parlors into the city.

They've been banned in the Capital City since 1979 and one city council member said it's been long enough. As the colorful debate continues, council members and the permanent ink artists themselves said the primary concern is public health.

A 20 year Capital City resident, Kelly Lewis, said he has more than 50 tattoos.

"When I got old enough in the military I got a tattoo that said 'In Memory of Dad," said Lewis.

He's traveled outside city limits to an establishment in Apache Flats to get his permanent art. Lewis said you can easily tell the good shops from the bad.

"They don't want a bad name," said Lewis. "They will explain every step of what you're going through."

A new tattoo is basically an open wound, and unsanitary conditions can lead to infection.

"The main thing is anything you can catch as a sexual disease you can catch off of tattoos," said tattoo artist of 33 years Jim Ruppel . "You definitely need somebody in there that knows they need to be regulated."

Ruppel owns Wild West Tattooz in Apache Flats. He said the city must be careful on who they let in.

"They need to do background checks on these guys-see if they've owned a shop before," said Ruppel. "Check with city hall, the police department to see if there's been any complaints on them."

Councilman Dr. Bryan Pope said he's concerned as well. He wants the city to regulate and inspect parlors above and beyond what state regulations allow.

"As a health care provider my main concern is public safety, public health and essentially through this ordinance we're going to be asking city staff to monitor," said Pope.

Dr. Pope said intense monitoring of tattoo parlors will cost the city money to hire and train inspectors. He said most residents in his ward are happy with the way things currently are.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people talking to me are saying 'why do we need to do this?' the small percent is saying 'uhhh it's no big deal'," said Dr. Pope.

Lewis said he'll be getting more tattoos whether the shops are allowed in Jefferson City or not.

"I'd be proud to say that I got a tattoo in Jefferson City, where I live," said Lewis.

Other council members said other issues on the ordinance is to make sure the lighting and image outside the shops fits in with other Jefferson City businesses. They also are looking at regulating the hours.