South Dakota Gun Laws

What Do You Need To Know About Gun Laws in South Dakota?

South Dakota is a constitutional carry state which encourages the carrying of firearms for security purposes. However, if you are unfamiliar with the South Dakota gun laws, you might face charges unexpectedly. As such, it is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the South Dakota gun laws in order to stay out of legal troubles.

If you intend to open carry in South Dakota, it is also necessary to be familiar with the state statutes regarding the use of guns. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what you need to know about the South Dakota gun laws.


South Dakota issues concealed carry permits for the possession of firearms within and outside of the state. Generally, there are three types of permits that the state offers, namely regular, gold, and enhanced permits. South Dakota is a “Shall Issue” state which means a concealed carry permit can be given to whoever that’s eligible.

The permit application is reviewed by the office of a sheriff in a local county. As for purchasing firearms, a mandatory background check has to be carried out since the state doesn’t issue purchase permits for firearms.

South Dakota Concealed Carry Permit

As mentioned earlier, there are three types of permits offered by South Dakota and they are:

  • Regular. A regular permit requires the applicant to have a clean SD criminal record for five years. With regular permits, you will be able to conceal carry in some of the states that have reciprocity with South Dakota.
  • Gold card. Gold card permits will require fingerprinting and a Federal background check. With a gold card permit, you can enjoy the extra advantage of using it as a firearms purchase permit since you would’ve gone through the criminal background checks already.
  • Enhanced. An enhanced permit requires fingerprinting, Federal background check and the applicant must go through a firearms safety course. Enhanced permits will enable you to conceal carry in six more states than regular permits and you are also exempted from the criminal record background check.

Out of the three concealed carry permits available, the enhanced permit is preferable because it allows you to conceal carry in more states than holders of regular and gold permits.


Here are the requirements you need to meet in order to get a concealed carry permit in South Dakota:

  • The applicant must be eighteen years old or older.
  • The applicant shall not have pled guilty to, nolo contendere to, or been convicted of a felony or a crime of violence.
  • The applicant isn’t habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition.
  • The applicant possesses no history of violence.
  • The applicant has not been found in the previous ten years to be an individual who is a “danger to others” or a “danger to self” or currently adjudged mentally incompetent.
  • The applicant physically resided in and is a resident of the county where the application is taking place for at least thirty days.
  • The applicant has no past records of violations of firearms control, unlawful use of weapons, or controlled substances such as marijuana, constituting a felony or misdemeanor in the past five years.
  • The applicant must be a US citizen or a legal resident alien.


For the application for concealed carry permits in South Dakota, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose the type of permit you want from the three permits available.
  2. Complete a firearms training course if you intend to get the enhanced permit.
  3. Once the training is successfully finished, you are required to complete a temporary application in person at your local Sheriff’s office.
  4. The Sheriff will issue a temporary permit within 5 days (a temporary permit is still a valid permit).
  5. The full permit will be issued within 30 days.


For the application and renewal of a concealed carry permit in South Dakota, it is necessary to pay a fee, and here’s how much it will cost you for each permit:

  • Regular. This type of permit will cost you $10 to apply and the renewal will be $10 too.
  • Gold. This type of permit will cost you $70 to apply and the renewal will be $70 too.
  • Enhanced. This type of permit will cost you $70 to apply and renewing it will cost you $50, but if it’s 30 days after the permit expires, it will be $100.

You should note that there is an additional fingerprinting fee of $43.25 for the Gold and Enhanced permits.

Where Is It Illegal to Open Carry in South Dakota?

According to the South Dakota gun laws, here are the places in South Dakota that don’t allow you to open carry:

  • Schools. You are not allowed to open carry on any elementary or secondary school premises, including school vehicles or buildings.
  • County courthouses. You cannot open carry or possess firearms in any state court or a county courthouse.
  • Restaurants and bars. You are not supposed to open carry in any establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages on the premises if the establishment derives more than half of its sales from serving alcohol.
  • Prohibited areas. Other prohibited areas such as a game preserve, refuge, or a snowmobile (unless the firearm is unloaded and entirely enclosed in a carrying case) also prohibits open carry or the possession of firearms.

Where Is It Legal to Open Carry in South Dakota?

Even though there are places in South Dakota that restrict open carry, there are actually places that allow it. Here are some of the areas in South Dakota where you are allowed to open carry.

  • Restaurants and bars. Possession of firearms and open carry is permitted in an eatery area as long as there are no signs posted that indicate the prohibition of possession of firearms in the place.
  • Personal vehicle. You can open carry in a private vehicle, but the firearm must remain in sight.
  • Personal place of business. You can open carry in your own business, dwelling place, or any property owned and occupied by lease or rent.
  • Roadside areas. Possession of firearms and open carry is enabled in roadside rest areas in South Dakota.
  • State forests and parks. You can open carry in parks and forests of the state and also wildlife management areas too.
  • Places of worship. Places of worship such as a church also allow open carry and the possession of firearms, unless there are restrictions placed by the governing body of the place.

Open Carry Laws in South Dakota to Know

Here are some of the South Dakota gun laws relating to open carry and also the use of firearms in the state.

Preemption Laws

There are preemption gun laws in the state of South Dakota and the state government further strengthened the preemption gun laws in South Dakota on the sixth of March in the year 2019.

Any county, city, or municipality in the state of South Dakota that adopts or enforces firearm laws violating the state’s preemption order will receive injunctive relief from the attorney general of the state.

Brandishing Of Firearms

The state of South Dakota restricts unlawful brandishing and the use of firearms in the state.

Any person that intentionally uses a firearm to threaten public safety, or against another person with a violent intention will be charged with improper conduct and may face prosecution. The exceptions are the legal use of firearms for self-defense purposes.

Open Carry While Hunting

It is legal in South Dakota to open carry while hunting and this is also applicable for bow hunting. However, you are restricted from using your firearm to take down animals while hunting with a bow.

There are also hunter harassment laws in the state of South Dakota that you should be aware of and they are:

  • No one should intentionally disturb somebody else or a group of people participating in a legal hunting activity in any wildlife or aquatic habitat.
  • No one should harass or attempt to harass anybody who is trying to hunt wildlife or fish in a legal manner.
  • No one is to take part in any activity in wildlife areas that disturb or impact games hereby, making it harder to hunt them.
  • Every owner of a land may not misconstrue any section of this law in such a way that prevents hunters from hunting on lands where the landowner previously gave permissions.

Castle Doctrine Law

South Dakota is a castle doctrine state and this law is essentially a “stand your ground” law. The “stand your ground” law gives private property owners the right to protect themselves with the use of firearms. Not only is this law applicable for concealed weapons like a handgun, but it is also applicable for long guns.


Now that you are aware of the gun and concealed carry laws in the state of South Dakota, we believe that it would be much easier for you to stay out of legal troubles.

While this might not be the most comprehensive guide with all the little details stated, it will still be good enough for you to know when you can conceal carry or open carry in the state and with or without a permit.


Do I need to get a permit to carry concealed in South Dakota?

No. It is not mandatory for you to be a concealed carry permit holder if you want to conceal carry firearms in the state because South Dakota is a constitutional carry state. However, you can still apply for a state permit if you intend to carry a concealed firearm in other states.

What is the age requirement for open carry and concealed carry in South Dakota?

The age requirement to open carry in South Dakota is eighteen years of age while the requirement for concealed carry is twenty-one years old.

Is there a red flag law in South Dakota?

No. The state gun statutes don’t mention anything regarding a red flag law or the issuance of extreme risk restriction orders or firearms.

Can a non-resident apply for a South Dakota concealed carry permit?

No. Unfortunately, the South Dakota permit is only available for the residents of the state, members of the United States Armed Forces posted to the state, and their spouses. So if you are not a resident of South Dakota, then you will not be eligible to apply for any of the permits.

Is the open carry of knives enabled in South Dakota?

Yes. The state allows both concealed and open carry of knives. But, the carrier must not have the intention to use them for a felony or any other unlawful act.

You should be aware that there are restrictions on the possession of a knife and other dangerous weapons in places like schools and courthouses. Local municipalities also have the right to impose laws to ban the possession and use of knives and deadly weapons in their territory.

Are there any prohibitions on firearms in the state of South Dakota?

Yes. The state bans weapons such as machine guns, short shotguns, and devices like silencers. However, such law is exempted from:

  • Law enforcement officers and members of the US military using such firearms during regular duties.
  • People with the required license to use such firearms and registered them with the relevant authority.
  • People that possess the firearm just after taking it from an attacker in a self-defense situation.

Do I have a duty to inform law enforcement officers when I carry a firearm in South Dakota?

No. You are under no obligation to inform a law enforcement officer that you carry a firearm.

Does South Dakota permit the use of deadly force in a personal-defense situation?

Yes. You can use any form of a deadly force to stop or prevent an attacker from causing severe bodily harm or imminent death. However, you must not be the one that invoked or started the attack.

Do I need to register my firearm in South Dakota?

No. The laws in the state of South Dakota don’t require any registration after you purchase firearms.

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