In 2019, South Dakota repealed its requirement that people obtain a license and background check to carry concealed firearms in public. As of July 1, 2019, anyone 18 years of age and over who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm may carry a concealed pistol without a permit.1 This includes nonresidents of the state of South Dakota as long as they may lawfully possess a pistol; such nonresidents are not required to have a permit in order to carry a concealed pistol in South Dakota.2 A person who is under the age of eighteen years of age may not carry a concealed pistol except “in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.”3
South Dakota still issues concealed weapons permits for people who may wish to obtain them for the purpose of carrying in other states. Under state law, local law enforcement generally must issue a concealed weapons permit if the applicant meets certain qualifications. The sheriff of the county in which the applicant resides must issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon if the applicant:
- Is 18 years of age or older;
- Has never pled guilty to, no contest to, or been convicted of a felony or crime of violence;
- Is not habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition;
- Has no history of violence;
- Has not been found in the previous ten years to be a “danger to others” or a “danger to self,” or is not currently adjudged mentally incompetent;
- Has resided for the past 30 days in the county or municipality where applying for a permit;
- Has not violated any of South Dakota’s laws regarding firearms, other weapons, controlled substances or marijuana in the five years preceding the date of application, or is not currently charged with a felony or misdemeanor under those laws;
- Is a United States citizen or a non-citizen with an alien or admission number issued by the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
- Is not a fugitive from justice; and
- Is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law and passes a National Instant Criminal Background Check4
South Dakota also issues enhanced permits which are more likely to be afforded reciprocity in other states due to heightened application requirements. An applicant must be 21 years of age, but individuals between the ages of 18 and 20, inclusive, who meet all of the other requirements may apply for a temporary restricted enhanced permit, which specifically states that it is for individuals between the ages of 18 and 20.5 When an individual with a temporary permit reaches the age of 21, that individual may apply for an unrestricted enhanced permit, which shall be issued at no additional cost to the applicant. (S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-54.4.))
Effective January 1, 2017, South Dakota will begin issuing “gold card” permits to carry concealed handguns. The application procedure for a gold card permit is substantially similar to that of a regular permit to carry, and individuals who are prohibited from obtaining a regular concealed carry permit are also prohibited from obtaining a gold card permit. The gold card will not enable a person to carry in a location where a person with a standard permit to carry cannot. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has approved of the use of a gold card to enable a holder to present it to a licensed firearms dealer in lieu of undergoing a background check at the time of purchase.6 To read more about how federal law exempts people with certain types of permits from background checks, visit our Federal Law on Background Checks policy page.
Firearm Safety Training
South Dakota offers residents the option of obtaining an enhanced concealed carry permit. While the enhanced permit is not required to carry a concealed firearm in South Dakota, an enhanced permit applicant and renewal applicant must take a handgun safety course, making it more likely that the enhanced permit will be recognized in other states.7
An initial or renewal applicant for an enhanced permit must present proof that he or she successfully completed the live fire component of a qualifying handgun course, and received instruction regarding the use of force standards and relevant criminal statutory changes.8
Duration & Renewal
A permit to carry a concealed weapon, an enhanced permit, or a gold card permit are each valid for five years.9
Disclosure or Use of Information
South Dakota law prohibits any state agency, political subdivision, official, agent, or employee of any state agency or political subdivision, from knowingly keeping or causing to be kept any list, record, or registry of holders of permits to carry a concealed handgun.10 These entities also may not release or permit access to any application, list, record or registry of applicants or holders of concealed weapon permits except to law enforcement or the secretary of state.11
The prohibition against lists, records, and registries of permit holders does not apply to, inter alia: 1) permits to carry concealed handguns relating to any person who has been convicted of a felony; 2) any on-duty law enforcement officer while conducting routine verification of the validity of a permit to carry a concealed handgun; 3) the secretary of state for the issuance of concealed handgun permits and any access reasonably necessary to verify information with regard to specific permits individually; or 4) the preservation of the triplicate copy of the application for a permit by the authority issuing the permit.12
The prohibition also does not restrict any law enforcement officer in the performance of any official duty if the officer is in the immediate physical presence of a permit holder who has either presented a permit to the officer or declared to the officer that he or she is a permit holder.13
South Dakota law also prohibits any law enforcement officer from retaining any notes, data, or pieces of information related to the holders of permits to carry concealed handguns, unless that information is pertinent to a specific ongoing investigation or prosecution.14
The South Dakota Attorney General is authorized to compare South Dakota laws governing concealed weapons permits 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 South Dakota law for the issuance of a permit.15 The South Dakota 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 South Dakota law.16 Any person permitted to carry a concealed handgun in a state with which the South Dakota Secretary of State has entered into a reciprocity agreement may carry a concealed handgun in South Dakota if the permit holder does so in compliance with state law.17)
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- See 2019 SD S 47 (signed by the Governor January 31, 2019), repealing § 22-14-9; see also S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-71 (a person who is under the age of eighteen years of age may not carry a concealed pistol except “in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.”).
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-7.4.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-71.
- S.D. Codified Laws §§ 23-7-7 and 23-7-7.1. Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit revocation information, are detailed under sections 23-7-8, 23-7-8.1, 23-7-8.2, 23-7-8.3, and 23-7-8.4.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-54.2.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7 et al. as amended by 2016 SD H 1190.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-53.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-56.
- S.D. Codified Laws §§ 23-7-8.2; 23-7-55; and S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7 et al. as amended by 2016 SD H 1190.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.6.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.10.
- S.D. Codified Laws §§ 23-7-8.7; 23-7-8.9.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.8.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-8.9.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-7.3.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-7.3.
- S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-9.2. See also S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-7.4 (concerning non-resident concealed handgun permit reciprocity.