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South Dakota law prohibits any person under age 18 from knowingly possessing a handgun.1 This prohibition does not apply if the minor has the prior written consent of the minor’s parent or guardian to possess a handgun and:

  • Is on premises owned or leased by the minor or his or her parent, guardian or immediate family member;
  • Is in the presence of a licensed or accredited gun safety instructor; or
  • Is using the handgun for farming, ranching, hunting, trapping, target shooting or gun safety instruction.2

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in South Dakota. South Dakota only prohibits transfer of a firearm or ammunition to a minor if the seller knows or reasonably believes that the minor intended, at the time of transfer, to use the firearm or ammunition in the commission or attempted commission of a crime of violence.3

 Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits. See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. 


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  1. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-44. A South Dakota resident hunting license may be issued to any resident age 16 or older. S.D. Codified Laws § 41-6-13. A minor between the ages of 12 and 16 years may be issued a hunting license, but the minor under age 16 may hunt only if accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult. Id., S.D. Codified Laws § 41-6-12. The license is valid only for the license year. Id. Furthermore, before a hunting license will be granted to a child between the ages of 11 and 16, he or she must comply with the firearm safety instruction required under S.D. Codified Laws § 41-7-1. S.D. Codified Laws § 41-6-14.[]
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-45.[]
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-46.[]