Knife Laws in South Dakota

(This site is reader-supported. When you buy something using retail links on our articles, we may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

As you explore the laws in South Dakota, you realize that knife laws are not really there. Restrictions are mild, yet there are some limitations in place for dangerous weapons, and knives often go into this category. Here is everything you have to know about knife laws in South Dakota.

What knives are legal to own in South Dakota?

Badlands, South Dakota
Badlands, South Dakota

You can legally own a switchblade or an automatic knife in South Dakota, as well as a bali or butterfly knife. Bowie knives and other large blade knives are also allowed, not to mention daggers, stilettos, dirks, and other stabbing knives. You can even have a sword cane or a disguised knife. Ballistic knives are also allowed in South Dakota.

What knives are illegal to own in South Dakota?

Until 2006, ballistic knives were illegal in South Dakota, but the law has changed. These days, there are no banned knives in the state. Knife types that have not been mentioned are not regulated, meaning they are legal to use.

What are the limits on carry?

You can carry knives in the open with no issues at all. Since there are no banned knives, every knife can be carried if it is visible.

Concealed Carry

There are no issues regarding the concealed carry of knives either. The law prohibits dangerous weapons or concealed weapons, but the law specifically mentions firearms, rather than knives.

Concealed carry can become illegal if your purpose is to commit a felony.

Restrictions on Carry in Specific Locations / Circumstances

Only those with a license can carry a weapon – including knives – on school grounds. Without a license, you cannot have it in a school’s safety zone either, not to mention school transportation or activities organized by schools.

County courthouses and the state capital also prohibit carrying weapons like knives.

Restrictions on Sale or Transfer

There are no restrictions on the sale or transfer of any type of knife in South Dakota.

Is there a statewide pre-emption?

There is no statewide pre-emption in South Dakota.

Major Cities in South Dakota with Knife Ordinances

  • Rapid City does not allow the concealed carry of a knife with a blade longer than three inches. Sharp and dangerous items cannot be concealed either.
  • Sioux Falls bans the concealed carry of dirks, bowie knives, daggers, and other weapons.
  • Aberdeen also targets concealed carry – without a license, you cannot carry dangerous knives.
  • Sturgis has banned the concealed carry of daggers, dirks, or bowie knives, as well as other weapons that can hurt someone – not without a license, though.
  • Deadwood has banned the same types of weapons from open carry in public transportation.
  • Belle Fourche restricts carrying a folding pocket knife with a blade of no more than three inches which is kept in the closed position where Alcohol is served.


Law enforcement officers are allowed to carry such weapons on school grounds.

Summary of Knife Laws in South Dakota

South Dakota allows all knives – whether owned, open or conceal carried. There are a few restrictions in various cities due to knife ordinances, but this is pretty much it.