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Tattoos, Law, and Your Rights, an Update

posted May 15, 2012, 9:30 AM by Alex Wainberg

        On top of reading Needles and Sins ( the best tattoo blog out there), you can expect to get occasional updates on tattoos, law and your rights right here on   

        1.   The U.S. Army is considering cracking down on soldiers tattoos according to the Military Times (  Also addressing other issues of appearance, such as hair and shaving standards, the proposed regulations include: “Tattoos will not be visible above the neck line when the physical fitness uniform is worn. Tattoos will not extend below the wrist line and not be visible on the hands. Sleeve tattoos will be prohibited. (This rule may be grandfathered.)”  This seems like an overreach to me, especially prohibiting sleeves.  It not only raises questions of civil rights of soldiers, but throws a shadow over the strong and proud tradition of military tattoos.  What a soldier does in their free time, especially in taking time to relax and recuperate from combat, should be protected.  My friends and family who are in the military all enjoy their tattoos and should be able to continue to collect body art.

As an aside, I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me the proposed rule: “Men will be authorized to carry a black umbrella with the Army Service Uniform.”  I am just curious as to whether soldiers were previously not allowed to carry umbrellas in uniform, if women could but men couldn’t, or if it is a change from any color umbrella to black umbrellas.  Also do those samurai sword umbrellas count?  I hope so.

2.   For those who haven’t already heard, Minnesota has finally followed many other states in bowing to pressure from the Red Cross in lifting the one year ban from donating blood after receiving a tattoo (  While this law was once a good idea, and still is in areas of the world without proper medical sterilization, it is good to see this unnecessary regulation lifted.  Donate now by visiting