Quick Legal Facts
Permitted under state law unless carried with the intent to commit a felony.
The possession of a "dangerous weapon," which can include a knife, on school grounds by someone not licensed is prohibited.
Major Cities with Knife Ordinances:
Yes. See discussion.
At a Glance:
An understanding of South Dakota state law regarding knives can be achieved with slightly more than a glance.
The statutory definition of ‘dangerous weapon’ includes any knife. There are a few limited restrictions regarding the possession or carry of knives. Knives may not be carried concealed by someone with intent to commit a felony. Knives may not be carried in certain locations.
SDCL § 22-1-2. Definition of terms
SDCL § 22-14-8. Concealment of weapon with intent to commit felony—Felony
SDCL § 23-7-7. Permit to carry concealed pistol–Background investigation–Carrying pistol without permit not prohibited
SDCL § 13-32-7. Possession of firearm or dangerous weapon on public elementary or secondary school premises or in vehicle or building as misdemeanor—Exceptions
SDCL § 22-14-23. Possession in county courthouse or state capitol–Misdemeanor
There are no restricted knives under South Dakota state law. South Dakota law does not recognize types or sub-categories of knives.
Concealed carry is permitted under state law unless carried with the intent to commit a felony.
Restrictions on Sale or Transfer:
Restrictions on Carry in Specific Locations/Circumstances:
Yes, Public schools, county courthouses, and the state capital.
No statewide preemption. Municipal ordinances prohibiting concealed carry of knives are common. See discussion below.
South Dakota Municipalities with Knife Restrictive Ordinances:
Rapid City – 9.28.030 Carrying concealed weapons.
It is unlawful for any person to carry concealed about his or her person any knife with a blade exceeding 3 inches in length or any sharp or dangerous weapon such as may be or could be employed in attack or defense of the person. This section shall not apply to firearms.
Sioux Falls – § 133.001 Carrying concealed weapons.
(a) (1) No person shall carry concealed about his or her person any slingshot, brass knuckle, or knuckles of other material, or any sandbag, dagger, Bowie knife, or dirk knife.
Aberdeen – Sec. 34-76. – Carrying concealed weapon.
No person shall carry concealed about his or her person any dangerous weapon as defined in SDCL 22-1-2 without a valid license therefor.
Sturgis – 13.04.02: Concealed Weapons.
No person, except an officer of the law, or a person licensed under the South Dakota Law or a non-resident of the State possessing a valid permit issued in another State as recognized pursuant to SDCL 23-7-7.4 shall carry concealed about his person any pistol or other firearm, sling shot, brass knuckle or knuckles of other material or any dagger, bowie knife, kirk knife, or other dangerous or deadly weapon, or any instrument or device which when used is likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
Deadwood – 9.24.010 Carrying unconcealed weapons.
No person shall carry about his or her person, upon any public transportation conveyance or trolley, any unconcealed pistol or antique firearm or other firearm, slingshot, brass knuckles or other material, or any slap jack, sand bag, dagger, bowie knife, dirk knife, or other dangerous or deadly weapon, or any instrument or device which when used is likely to produce death or great bodily harm. (underlining added)
South Dakota was among those states that enacted automatic knife restrictions. It has the distinction of being the first of those states to repeal the prohibition in 1976. (SL 1976, ch 158, § 14-14)
SDCL § 22-1-2 provides definitions for use throughout Title 22 of the South Dakota code pertains to crimes. ‘Concealed’ is defined as follows:
(6) “Concealed,” any firearm that is totally hidden from view. If any part of the firearm is capable of being seen, it is not concealed;
Although the definition mentions ‘any firearm’ it would apply to the term concealed throughout Title 22. Accordingly, if any part of a knife ‘is capable of being seen, it is not concealed. This would mean, for instance, that if a ‘pocket clip’ can be seen, the knife is not concealed.
While concealment is not an issue under state law, various municipalities have enacted ordinances prohibiting concealed carry of certain knives. This standard for concealment should apply to those ordinances as well.
A search of selected South Dakota municipalities, as listed above, reveals that Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Sturgis restrict the concealed carry of knives. Deadwood restricts the un-concealed carry of knives.
The City of Sturgis ordinance provides that a license to carry pursuant to SDCL § 23-7-7, or a license issued by another state but ‘recognized’ according to South Dakota law allows an exception to the ordinance in general. The Aberdeen ordinance contains a similar, but less explicit, provision.
We suggest that an examination of relevant municipal ordinances for those living in or traveling through South Dakota.
Law Enforcement, Military
SDCL § 13-32-7, the statute which prohibits firearms on public school grounds, contains an exception for law enforcement officers.
Updated October 7, 2019 by Daniel C. Lawson