City ink keeps tattoo shops out of Temple
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Equipped with more than a decade of experience, Christopher Simmons would love to work in his hometown of Temple, but city law is making things difficult.
"I love this place and I consider it my home and I would love to work here,” Simmons said. “I feel that my rights are being taken advantage of a little bit because of my lack of opportunity to work."
Simmons is a tattoo artist by trade, but Temple city law says only physicians are qualified to apply tattoos. That law has effectively shut down any and all tattoo shops within the city’s limits.
Simmons strongly believes his city government has overstepped its bounds.
"We also have a right be successful in an industry of our own choosing and a town should not be able to tell you that, ‘No, we don't want you to work here,’" Simmons said.
Last week, Simmons presented his case in front of Temple City Council, but city leaders don't feel their ordinance is out of bounds.
"We stand by our ordinance that we have today,” Temple Mayor Bill Jones III said. “I don't see any impetuous in the council to make that change."
Tattoo shops flourish in nearby Killeen where no such ordinance exists.
"I don't know why a city ordinance would be in effect for tattoos. There are so many here in Killeen and it's right down the road,” tattoo shop owner Matt Huddleston said. “I don't know why it's a big deal.'
Huddleston says professional parlors are safe and aren’t a threat to the community.
"Any tattoo artist that knows what he's doing is not trying to give anything or get anything from anybody,” Huddleston said. “The cleaner the environment we work in, the better we are the better off our families are."
Mayor Jones also said the high standards of the ordinance are for the safety and health of Temple's residents.