City of Temple lifts 20 year ban on tattoo parlor

Posted: 11:06 PM, Oct 21, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-22 04:23:18Z

Christopher Simmons is an artist and his canvas- the body.

Simmons owns Lucky in Love tattoo shop in Morgan’s Point. Simmons became interested in the art as teenager, his mother a tattoo artist too.

“She tattooed me on my 18th birthday,” Simmons said. Simmons began his career as a tattoo artist in 1999 with hopes of opening a shop in Temple. That however was illegal until Thursday night.

"We are about four years trying to get this thing changed. At the beginning they were hesitant to talk to me but by the end they established a very good dialogue,” Simmons said.

In 1996, Temple passed a law that only licensed doctors could operate tattoos businesses. Zoning laws also banned tattoo parlors from city limits.

Temple’s city attorney Kayla Landeros said the laws were put into place to address concerns of unregulated tattoos that are potentially dangerous.

"That was before the state had comprehensive health and safety regulations for tattooing and body piercing. Actually not long after the state did pass some comprehensive health and safety regulations,” Landeros said.

Simmons said prior to retaining a lawyer, he didn’t have much success in the reversal. Simmons first approached the city in 2013. Again in May, he presented the idea, however the council never acted on it so it was killed.

Simmons said a client who is also a lawyer agreed to represent him.

"It's my first amendment right to be able to tattoo the art of tattooing is protected under the first amendment,” Simmons said.

Much of the discrimination, people with tattoos face, Simmons believes is antiquated.

“Tattooed people are the red blood of America, you know they're doctors, lawyers, it's everybody you know,” Simmons said.

With the reversal, Simmons is planning to open up a tattoo shop in Temple by late November.

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