ROANOKE, Va.—What's your opinion of tattoos?
Whether you like them, hate them or feel indifferent, at least one tattoo artist is concerned about the FBI's move to create a new, tattoo database.
The owner of "9 Tattoo" shop on Orange can certainly understand why the FBI is doing this, but he's also worried about what this means for people who have and love tattoos.
Joe Hegarty has been a tattoo artist for 22 years.
He recently opened a second custom tattoo shop in Roanoke, called 9 Tattoo.
“Generally you bring us your idea and we'll transfer it into some skin art,” Hegarty said.
He has strong opinions about tattoos.
In the past, he says there's been plenty of discrimination against tattooed people.
Now, the FBI is searching for information about tattoos and their meaning, which could be a setback.
“Nowadays, it seems like now we're finally elevating above that and people are starting to realize that just because you have a tattoo doesn't mean you're in a gang or a biker,” Hegarty said. “Could be that you're a nurse.”
Hegarty supports why the FBI is creating a database about tattoos and their links to gang activity, terrorist groups, or other criminal organizations.
But he also fears people could be targeted for tattoos they don't know the deeper meaning of.
“I can understand going into it that they need a database to get all the figures and things that they would require,” Hegarty said. “At the same time, some people might look at it as giving up some of their liberties.”
Hegarty says he tries to guide customers who want a new tattoo.
There are a few he'll refuse to do.
But overall, he has no major worries or requests for well-known tattoos that signify a criminal element. Click here for 9 Tattoo's website.