South Dakota Gun Laws

Gun Laws in South Dakota

South Dakota is classified as a “shall issue” state in regards to carrying concealed weapons. Permits are to be issued to those who qualify through a local county sheriff.

South Dakota LawsA concealed weapons permit allows individuals to carry pistols and handguns legally in specific areas. Five days after an application has been processed a temporary permit will be issued.

Concealed weapons are always prohibited from secondary school property, elementary school property, courthouses, and any building where alcohol is the main service provided. Non-resident concealed weapons permits are recognized in the state of South Dakota. Concealed pistol permits are not required in South Dakota due to open carry legality. When firearms are fully visible, they are lawful to be transported in motor vehicles.

Handguns that are to be purchased from Federal Firearms Licensed dealers must be preceded by an application. This application is later issued to the local police through the dealer.

When an individual passes the federal background check, he or she will automatically have the right to possess any kind of firearm as stated by a new law passed as of the first of June 2009.

Local government units in South Dakota do not have the right to restrict the transporting of, the possessing of, the manufacturing of, the owning of, the selling of, or the repairing of ammunition or firearms. Under South Dakota law those who distribute, manufacture, or sell firearms are not to be held liable if a firearm causes injury to an individual.

South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota, to the west by Montana and Wyoming, to the south by Nebraska, and to the east by Iowa and Minnesota. The Missouri River bifurcates the state into two districts, known as East River and West River to South Dakota inhabitants. Open carry is legal in South Dakota with a valid license to carry.

South Dakota Firearm Legalities

Permits are not needed to carry shotguns or rifles in South Dakota, but permits are needed to carry handguns within the state. This kind of permit is only required if the weapon is concealed and fully out of viewing. Rifle, shotgun, and handgun owners are not required by law to be licensed.

Permits are also not needed when purchasing shotguns and rifles. Though a permit is not required to purchase a handgun, a waiting period of forty-eight hours will need to pass for a background check before the purchase can be completed. South Dakota law states that handguns, rifles, and shotguns do not need to be registered.

Possessing Firearms in South Dakota

Individuals under the age of eighteen are not permitted to possess handguns or pistols. A minor is allowed to operate firearms when a parent or guardian is present; while participating in ranching, target shooting, or farming; on the private property of an immediate family member or parent; or while practicing with a qualified safety instructor.

When an individual has been convicted of a felony offense or a violent crime in South Dakota or in another state, he or she will lose his or her right to possess a firearm. After fifteen years, individuals who have been paroled, completed probation, or where discharged from jail or prison may petition for his or her rights to be reinstated.

Misdemeanor offenses marked as domestic violence cases disqualify individuals from the right to possess firearms. These civil rights may be re-extended after one year.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

South Dakota generally prohibits carrying concealed handguns in vehicles without a permit, unless the handgun is unloaded and is carried for any lawful use within a trunk or other closed compartment of a vehicle or in a closed container that cannot be concealed on the person.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, if you possess a valid concealed handgun license/permit. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carrying into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from carrying while you consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Self-defense Laws

South Dakota has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from anywhere You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into a dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor vehicle.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal in South Dakota. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. For open carry in a vehicle, the firearm must be clearly visible. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, South Dakota will recognize another state’s license to carry:

“Any valid permit to carry a concealed pistol, issued to a nonresident of South Dakota, is valid in South Dakota according to the terms of its issuance in the state of its issue, but only to the extent that the terms of issuance comply with any appropriate South Dakota statute or promulgated rule. However, if the holder of such a nonresident permit to carry a concealed pistol becomes, at any time, a legal resident of South Dakota, the provisions of this section no longer apply.” []


“The attorney general shall compare South Dakota permit issuance statutes with the permit issuance statutes in states with which reciprocity is sought or requested in order to determine whether the laws of the other state meet or exceed the requirements of this chapter for the issuance of a permit. The secretary of state may enter into reciprocity agreements with other states after the attorney general has notified the secretary of state that the other states’ laws meet or exceed the provisions of this chapter.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with South Dakota and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list.

South Dakota issues both regular and enhanced carry permits, as well as “gold” carry permits.

Criminal Provisions

Under South Dakota law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances:

  • It is a crime to discharge a firearm from a motor vehicle
  • Any school premises, school vehicle, or building used for school functions, if not for supervised gun training sessions
  • Any courthouse
  • The state capitol
  • In a bar
  • While operating or riding a snowmobile (unless the firearm is unloaded and within a carrying case)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.