Kent piercers unaffected by new Ohio regulations

Breyanna Tripp

A new law restricting piercing gun use may bring more business to Kent.  

The Ohio Department of Health will implement a law Sept. 1 that restricts the use of piercing guns for nose and upper-ear piercings. The law will only allow piercing guns to be used on the lower ear lobe due to difficulties in sterilization of the gun. The Department of Health has not updated their regulations for body piercings in more than 20 years. 

A piercing gun is a mechanical device that forces an earring through the ear. They are typically used in mall jewelry stores.   

Rob Bohn, co-owner of Defiance Tattoos, feels the law will boost his business because Defiance does not use piercing guns. 

“When you get pierced at a tattoo shop, we use a needle that’s hollow so it takes a little piece of skin out when you pierce it then the jewelry fits in there,” Bohn said. “It gives it a lot more room for healing as opposed to basically shoving something through your ear.”

Bohn said he learned sterilization techniques about bloodborne pathogens and participated in training through the Red Cross before becoming a piercer.

Jack Twedt, a piercer at Crucible Tattoos and a geology major at Kent State, feels a lot of people are not aware of how harmful piercing guns are.

“You can get your ears pierced with a gun at Walmart, and you just pierce someone’s ears, and that’s pretty much your training,” Twedt said. “I would never suggest using it in the first place. It’s a good step forward that they are no longer allowed to be used on cartilage but they need to be outlawed altogether. They are not healthy.”

 Jay Miller, the owner of Crucible Tattoos, said he was trained not to use piercing guns.

“I was trained formally in a shop, so I knew from the get-go why it wasn’t a good thing to do,” Miller said. “The body piercings all started in tattoo shops and then other places just kind of decided to try to capitalize on it so someone would come in and say ‘Can you pierce my nose?’ and they’ll say yeah. I think, anyway, at least for me it was that you had people who were bargain shopping and people with guns who were a little bit willing to do it for whatever price.” 

Miller suspects the Ohio Department of Health will have to enforce more regulations on the body piercing industry. 

“It was never intended for that so it’s kind of good to see the regulations come in because there wasn’t anyone paying attention for a long time and it wasn’t sanitary, it wasn’t healthy,” Miller said. “It could have really turned into a public health issue if they wouldn’t have done something about it.”

Contact Breyanna Tripp at [email protected].