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What are the Gun Laws in South Dakota?

Carrying, Controlled Weapon, Antiques and Replicas, Miscellaneous



No person shall carry a pistol concealed in any vehicle or concealed on or about his person, without a license to carry. The issuing authority for a permit to carry is the sheriff of a county in which the applicant resides.

The permit shall be issued if the applicant is:
  • At least 18 years of age.

  • Has not been convicted of a felony or crime of violence.

  • Is not a habitual drunkard or drug user.

  • Has no history of repeated acts of violence.

  • Has not been found in the previous ten years to be a "danger to others or a danger to self.

  • Is not currently adjudged mentally incompetent or has not been found in the previous 10 years to be mentally ill.

  • Has been a resident of the county for at least 30 days preceding application.

  • Is a citizen of the United States.

  • Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offence within the preceding five years under the South Dakota weapon laws, firearm control laws or controlled substance laws.

  • Is not a fugitive from justice.
Prior to issuing the permit, the sheriff shall execute a background investigation, including a criminal history check, of every applicant for the purposes of verify the qualifications of the applicant pursuant to the requirements.

A background investigation is defined as a computer check of available on-line records.

A temporary permit to carry shall be issued within five days of application to a person who satisfies the above standards.

The original copy of an application for a permit shall serve as the temporary permit until the permit is issued.

All permit denials may be appealed to the circuit court.

The permit is valid for four years.

The fee for a permit to carry is $10.00.

A permittee may not carry a concealed pistol into:
  • An establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages on the premises if the establishment derives more than 50 percent of its sales from alcoholic beverages,

  • A county courthouse, an elementary or secondary school premises, including school vehicles or buildings, a snowmobile, unless firearm is unloaded and entirely enclosed in a carrying case.
A game preserve or refuge unless the permit holder is:
  • On a public highway and the firearm is enclosed in a case, or

  • A resident within the preserve or refuge and is carrying the firearm to use against non-game and predatory animals or birds on his or her own premises.
A permit is not required to carry an unloaded handgun if it is carried in the trunk or other closed compartment of a vehicle or if it is in a closed container, which is too large to be effectively concealed on the person or within his clothing. This container may be carried in a vehicle or in any other manner.

A permit is not required to possess a handgun in one’s dwelling house or place of business or on land owned or rented by him or by a member of his household.

It is lawful to carry a loaded shotgun or rifle in a car or truck.

Controlled Weapons

The term "controlled weapon" is defined to include machine guns, silencers, and short shotguns.

No person shall possess a controlled weapon unless he:
  • Is a law enforcement officer or member of the armed forces of the U.S. or of the South Dakota National Guard acting in the lawful discharge of his duties;

  • Has a valid state or federal license or has registered the weapon with the proper authority; or

  • Possesses the machine gun briefly after having found it or taken it from an aggressor.

Antiques and Replicas

An "antique firearm" is defined as any firearm, including any firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar type of ignition system, manufactured before 1899 and any replica of a firearm if such replica is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition or uses rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in the U.S. and which is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.

The weapon laws of South Dakota are not applicable to antique firearms or those firearms that have been permanently altered so they are incapable of discharge.


  • No county, municipality, or township may pass any ordinance that restricts possession, transportation, sale, transfer, ownership, manufacture or repair of firearms or ammunition or their component.

  • No state agency, political subdivision, official, agent or employee of any state agency may knowingly keep or cause to be kept any list, record, or registry of privately owned firearm or registry of holders of permits to carry a concealed pistol.

  • No person, other than a law enforcement officer, shall have in his or her possession any firearm or airgun on any school premises or in any school vehicle or in any building or premises used for school functions. This does not apply to firearms or airguns at firing ranges, gun shows, and duly supervised schools or sessions for training in the use of firearms.

  • No person shall possess a firearm on which the manufacturer’s serial number has been changed, altered, removed or obliterated. This does not apply if the owner or possessor of the firearms has applied for a new serial number with the director of criminal investigation.

  • It is unlawful for any person to recklessly discharge a firearm.

  • No person shall set a device designed to activate a weapon upon being tripped or approached and leave it unmarked or unattended by a competent person.

  • Firearms manufacturers, distributors, and sellers are not liable for injury caused by firearms because of use of the firearm by another.

  • The potential of a firearm to cause serious injury, damage, or death as a result of normal function does not constitute a defective condition of the product.
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