Buying Ammo and Guns in South Dakota

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece dives into the ammunition and firearms laws that apply in the state of South Dakota. To do so, we start with the ammo laws, focusing on the legal requirements and processes to have ammo shipped to a residential address in the state. From there, the piece transitions to the firearms laws, looking at both the processes for buying guns in the state as well as the laws that regulate the carriage of firearms within the state’s borders. Finally, we wrap the piece up with some information and resources that you’ll find useful if you’re interested in owning and carrying firearms and ammo in South Dakota.

We do not intend this piece as legal advice. Instead, we hope that you can use the information here to make your own, better-informed choices.

Like many states, South Dakota has preemption. This means that the state legislature has passed a law forbidding localities such as counties, cities, and towns, from making and enforcing gun laws that are stricter than those at the state level. In practical terms, this makes life simpler for gun owners, as a single set of laws applies to the state as a whole.

South Dakota is one of the most permissive states in the country in terms of its firearms laws. There are no bans in the state and little regulation on the carriage of firearms. The state of South Dakota gets out of people’s way in their enjoyment of Second Amendment rights. 

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in South Dakota 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

South Dakota has highly permissive ammo laws in that it has very few at all. In the US, the laws set at the federal level apply everywhere in the country. In states where there are few ammo laws, like South Dakota, this means that the buying and shipping of ammunition are practically set by those federal laws, and that makes South Dakota as permissive as it can be under federal law.

The ATF has two sets of requirements for people who want to purchase ammunition. Firstly, buyers have to meet an age requirement. Buyers have to be eighteen years of age or older to buy ammo for long guns (rifles and shotguns) and at least twenty-one to buy ammo for handguns. Secondly, prohibited persons cannot buy ammo: the ATF defines prohibited persons as those who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, people who’ve been found mentally unfit in court, and people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for inpatient treatment.

As long as the buyer meets those two sets of federal requirements, South Dakota’s state laws are fine with ammunition being shipped to a home in the state. Keep in mind that carriers can set their own rules, and sometimes request that an adult with a valid ID be present to sign for packages containing ammo.

As long as the buyer meets federal requirements, it is simple to have ammo shipped to a home in South Dakota. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Dakota

Next, we will do the same exercise for the state’s gun laws.

South Dakota takes a permissive stance on firearms laws as well. The state does not have a ban on assault weapons, either by listing weapons or making a list of prohibited features. Additionally, there are no magazine bans in the state. South Dakota is also fine with its residents owning NFA items such as suppressors, machine guns, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns. Of course, federal laws still apply to such NFA items and must be followed in South Dakota as well.

Because South Dakota does not impose any additional restrictions on firearms rights, the buying process in the state follows the baseline set by federal law. The buyer should bring both a valid form of identification as well as their form of payment to the gun store. There, the FFL will have the buyer fill out ATF’s Form 4473 to both do a background check and make the legally mandated record of the purchase. Once the background check is cleared and the payment clears, the buyer is welcome to leave with their new firearm the same day.

South Dakota does not mandate that people selling firearms in a private sale conduct a background check. With that said, it is always wise to make sure that the buyer is old enough to legally own the weapon, and is not a prohibited person.

The permissive attitude of the state continues with the state’s attitude on the carriage of firearms. The state does not regulate the open carriage of firearms, meaning that people can carry a firearm openly in most places.

South Dakota does not require a permit for concealed carry either. Many states with permitless carry do also issue a concealed carry permit, and South Dakota is no exception. But, the state’s permits are unusual in that there are several tiers. The simplest to get a permit only requires an application, and the hardest to get one requires the demonstration of training. Because each permit has different requirements, they should be considered totally separate documents when considering if the permit is honored in other states: it might well be worth a phone call to a local sheriff’s office if you plan to carry a firearm in another state on a South Dakota permit to double check its validity in that specific county.

Most states have a list of places where it is forbidden to carry a firearm and South Dakota is no exception here, either. The list in this state includes:

  • Bars (No concealed carry)

  • Courthouses

  • State Capitol (Enhanced permit holders can be given exceptions)

Signs posted on private property can add more places to this list on an ad hoc basis. Also, it is always illegal to carry a firearm on most federal property, which includes your local post office. Otherwise, South Dakota’s list is among the shortest in the nation.

South Dakota is among the most permissive states in the country when it comes to its ammo and firearms laws. There are no ammo bans in the state, no bans on any category of firearms, and there are few restrictions on the carriage of firearms. In effect, South Dakota can be used as a baseline for permissiveness in American firearms law.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in South Dakota  

South Dakota has a base sales tax rate of 4.5%, and some localities tack on additional taxes for an effective sales tax rate of 7.5%. It might be worth shopping around to FFLS in different areas to find one in a lower-tax city/county. 

The state does not have additional, specific taxes on firearms and ammunition sales. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including in South Dakota. This list is kept well up to date: generally, gun stores are either Type 1 or Type 2 FFLs. 

  • is a great tool for finding ranges: use the mileage, city, and zip code filters to find ranges in your area. Users can add more ranges, too, and the information is regularly checked for accuracy.

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in South Dakota.

  • South Dakota’s low population leads to forums that are not super active, but the state’s firearms subreddit does have the occasional useful post.

South Dakota Gun Law FAQ:

The state is very firearms-friendly and is fine with people having ammo shipped to their homes. There are federal requirements, however: people have to meet an age requirement (18 for long gun ammo and 21 for handguns) and cannot be prohibited persons as defined by the ATF. As long as those requirements are met, feel free to shop for ammo online.

SD might well be the most gun-friendly state in the US. There are no bans on ammo or firearms, and no permitting required to carry a firearm. As long as federal laws are followed, SD tends to be fine with it as well.

The state does not require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, but it does offer several tiers of permits for people who want to carry in sensitive locations or out of state. This tiered system does make reciprocity a little harder to determine, however. 

Nope: there are no major gun bans in the state, and it would be unlikely that one would be proposed, let alone stand a chance of passing at the state level.

Yes: South Dakota allows for the open carriage of both handguns and long guns, and the state does not require a permit to do either.