Minimum age for tattoos in SC drops to 18 - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Minimum age for tattoos in SC drops to 18

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new South Carolina law is allowing 18-year-olds to get a tattoo without asking permission from their parents. Governor Mark Sanford signed the law March 30.

"My first thought was, it's about time," said Blu Gorilla tattoo shop co-owner Tim Dennis.

There is no denying the new law will bring in more business especially because of the shop's proximity to the College of Charleston, Dennis said.

"What I think this law will do is stop all the scratchers that work out of their house because that's how they were getting a lot of business," said Dennis, who has been tattooing professionally since 1995.

Ryan Neal, 19, is one of those people who got his tattoo done at someone's house because legally he couldn't get it at a tattoo shop.

"The quality that you get out of the house for some reason is not as good as you get in the shop," Neal said. "In retrospect, I should have waited a little but it's cool. You live and you learn."

Friday, he was getting his third tattoo.

"I've always just really like the way it looked, the style of it. I like the culture of tattoos," said Neal, who didn't have to flip through all available designs at the shop because he knew what he wanted.

The Trident Technical College student wasn't nervous about the sound of the needle as Dennis started sketching out an octopus on his right arm. Neal said a friend told him about the change in the law a couple days ago.

"No sooner are we turning somebody away cause they're 18, do they say to us 'oh, we know blah, blah, blah, who works out of their house,'" Dennis said.

That is pretty dangerous because people's houses aren't regulated, he added.

It is money that won't be going to other states that allow people 18 and older to get tattoos, Dennis said.

State Senators Glen McConnell and Robert Ford sponsored the bill. South Carolina was the only state to require people be 21 years of age to get a tattoo.

"We thought it was a common sense bill," said Ben Fox, spokesman for Governor Sanford.

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