What to know about South Dakota’s firearm laws

What to know about South Dakota’s firearm laws

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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