What do South Dakota’s gun laws look like?
South Dakota, known for its pheasant hunting, has a population with one of the highest gun ownership rates per capita. A number of organizations rank South Dakota as being a state friendly to gun owners or a state without strong gun laws.
Guns & Ammo ranked South Dakota No. 7 in its annual “Best states for gun owners” ranking in 2022. Guns & Ammo said South Dakota’s score got a boost in 2021 from enacting a “model stand-your-ground bill and lowering carry permit fees to $0.”
When looking at gun control laws, Everytown for Gun Safety, ranked South Dakota as No. 45 for gun law strength.
“In an average year, 120 people die by guns. With a rate of 13.6 deaths per 100,000 people, South Dakota has the 28th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US,” Everytown for Gun Safety’s website says citing CDC statistics.
Two gun-related bills brought by Democrat Rep. Linda Duba in the 2023 legislative session failed in a House committee. The South Dakota State Medical Association spoke in support of both bills, while the NRA spoke in opposition to both.
In December, newly-elected Secretary of State Monae Johnson published a 35-page “South Dakota Firearm Handbook” to look at the various federal and state laws regarding gun ownership.
To buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer, a person needs to complete a form from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms for a transaction record and meet provisions of the Federal Brady Law, which includes a National Instant Criminal Background Check.
South Dakota’s gun laws related to “unlawful use of weapons” include felonies for altered serial numbers on a firearm, reckless discharge of a loaded firearm while intoxicated and firearm possession after a violent crime conviction or felony drug conviction.
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