Gosnell police plan to crack down on illegal tattooing

Gosnell police plan to crack down on illegal tattooing

GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) - Police in one Mississippi County town are warning against illegal tattooing within their city. "If you are caught tattooing in the City of Gosnell you WILL be prosecuted," Gosnell police stated on their Facebook page.

"There is no business in the city limits of Gosnell that is a tattoo shop," Gosnell Police Lieutenant Andrew Wyles told Region 8 News.

Wyles said unfortunately, that hasn't stopped people from giving tattoos out of their homes. He explained that it is an illegal practice the police department hopes to shut down.

Not only are there major concerns about blood borne infectious diseases but according to Arkansas Law, it's also illegal.

Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Wyles sorted through boxes full of tattooing equipment. All of the pieces, from ink to needles to power supplies, are marked as evidence.

The equipment was confiscated from a Gosnell resident's home last year.

"We had arrested somebody, it was for a separate incident and as we were handling that incident, we stumbled upon, he had tattoo equipment that he did not have a license for," Lt. Wyles said.

Though that paraphernalia is off the street, Gosnell police are concerned it's still going on in city limits.

"I even had a person come to me today and say a juvenile had a tattoo done that was done out of somebody's residence," Lt. Wyles said.

Lt. Wyles said to be licensed, there are a lot of


He said in speaking with the state's health department, the location of a tattoo parlor must be certified as well. He said certain locations will not be approved.

"There's no chance that a house, a residence will be passed as a licensed shop," Lt. Wyles said.

Which means even if you have a license, it's still illegal to tattoo out of your home.

"Without being certified by the health department, there's that issue of diseases being passed upon from person to person," Lt. Wyles said. "They're not sanitary. They're not required to do it."

Lt. Wyles said this is a practice they hope to bring to a stop before something bad happens.

"I don't want a 12 year old's parents coming to me saying 'hey, my son got a tattoo illegally,'" Lt. Wyles said.

The act of illegal tattooing isn't just a concern for law enforcement officials though.

Region 8 News spoke with the operator of a licensed tattoo parlor in Blytheville by phone Wednesday afternoon.

Jamie Wells with Think-n-Ink Tattoos said she often sees people come to her shop with infections after being tattooed by an unlicensed person.

For a list of licensed tattoo professionals according to the Arkansas Department of Health, click


If you know of illegal tattooing happening in the city, call Gosnell police at (870) 532-6179. All calls are confidential. 

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