Iowa town considers ban on tattoos, piercings

An Iowa town is considering a ban on tattoos and piercing.

The rule would require people visiting the city's parks and facilities to cover up their body art and ditch their piercing.

"It definitely goes against everything that the First Amendment stands for," said Ron O'Tool, tattoo shop owner.

And that is the immediate reaction of many when the Bettendorf Parks Board said they were considering making a policy about the displaying of tattoos, piercing and attire at their parks and pools.

"We had an incident last year where someone had a tattoo that was at our pool, Splash Landing, and someone brought it to the attention of a staff member that they thought the tattoo was offensive," said Steve Grimes, Bettendorf, IA Dir. of Parks And Recreation.

The staff member asked the guest to cover his tattoo.  The guest decided just to leave instead.  This time the issue was avoided.

"The concern it brought up was how do we direct staff to handle a situation like that in the future," Grimes said.

Grimes says he knows there's a thin line between preserving the family friendly environment at one of their parks and protecting individual rights.

Local tattoo artist Ron O'Tool says he can see where they are coming from but it's not that simple.

"There are tattoos out there, I'm sure we've all seen them, we might find inappropriate and offensive but you know they're just up for scrutiny," O'Tool said.

But he says at the end of the comes down to a right of the people

"Without those simple freedoms of expression, then you know, this country wouldn't be what our founding forefathers imagined it to be," O'Tool said. "Everybody has a right to judgment, you have to allow people the right to be who they want to be"

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