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Tattoos Are Protected by the 1st Amendment

October 04, 2002

I wholeheartedly agree with Jonathan Turley's Sept. 30 commentary, "A Legal Tattoo Hullabaloo." Even if it is not what our founding fathers had in mind, tattooing is a form of expression protected by the 1st Amendment. It is unconstitutional to ban the practice in South Carolina and Oklahoma. While the South Carolina Supreme Court claims to have based its decision upholding the ban on body art on the "public health danger" posed by tattoos, it fails to realize that those who want to express themselves on their arms or chests will do so, whether they have it done in safe, government-regulated parlors or by illegal tattoo artists in unsterile conditions. The South Carolina justices should focus on making the practice safer for those who choose to tattoo themselves instead of making it illegal and violating precious 1st Amendment rights.

Merritt Watts

Claremont

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