South Dakota Knife Laws

Peter Stec
February 22, 2021

South Dakota’s knife laws are basically non-existent, however, combing through the weapons laws in order to determine that can be difficult for those who have not have any legal training. This article tells you what the weapons laws say, and how that applies to the ownership and carrying of various types of knives.

What is Legal to Own

  • It is legal to own a switchblade, or any type of automatic knife
  • It is legal to own a ballistic knife
  • It is legal to own a Balisong, or butterfly knife
  • It is legal to own a Bowie knife
  • It is legal to own a dirk, dagger, or other stabbing knife
  • It is legal to own a stiletto
  • It is legal to own a sword cane
  • It is legal to own a disguised knife, such as in a belt buckle or lipstick

What is Illegal to Own

  • It is not illegal to own any type of knife in South Dakota

In 2006, the legislature repealed the only law prohibiting ownership of any type of knife. The former statute, 22-14-19, made it illegal for a person to own, possess or sell a ballistic knife.

Restrictions on Carry

  • Any knife may be carried openly or concealed

South Dakota’s statutes discuss dangerous weapons and carrying concealed weapons, however neither of the statutes apply to knives, as its definition of “concealed” is “any firearm that is totally hidden from view.”

Conclusion on South Dakota’s Knife Laws

It is legal to own and open or conceal carry any knife in South Dakota, as it has no laws controlling the ownership or carry of any type of knife.


  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-14-19 (2013)
  • S.D. Codified Laws § 22-1-2 (2013)
About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

14 comments on “South Dakota Knife Laws”

  1. Left Massachusetts to get OTR Truck Driving Job in S.Dakota. Been on point as ranch work goes. 884 ORR jobs available in S.Dakota. Applied for 5, and hear N.Dakota should have been my stop. My class A TN S46423085 is valid and health permit costly but will be renewed before July 2017.

  2. Is a folded up pocket knife (not opened up and locked into position) considered a weapon by South Dakota state law?

    My brother had a unopened pocket knife in his hand, and police yelled “knife!” My brother was tased, maced, and beaten by Sioux Falls Police Officers.

    My brother dropped the knife without being asked to, and before being tased, maced, and beaten.

    Can anyone give me some insight to this situation? He’s facing a class 2 felony punishable up to 25 years in prison.

    Please email me @ [email protected] thank you

  3. What are the rapid city or any where in South Dakota restrictions with carrying a open view knife. Smaller then a real machete but the same shape as a machete.

  4. What’s the situation with swords the one I’m talking about is a 24 inch blade cutlass and I was wondering if it’s legal to open carry because I walk my dog at night and I’ve been mugged before and I’m looking for protection cheaper then a gun but just as terrifying but end of my ramblings

  5. Is it illegal to own a spring loaded knife in the town of dell rapids. But still carry on me when im walking in town

  6. What if I had made my own blade (a punch dagger 3 inches)and it’s not out of the ordinary but could I legally carry it on me

  7. okay this may sound stupid but its not illegal to own any type of sword in South Dakota is it? (totally not really wanting to buy one…)

    If anyone can respond plz email me as i probably wont check back on this site.

    1. Hey Skyler;
      As far as I can tell, there’s no law in S. Dakota that makes it illegal to own a sword. You can own any knife you want. The big issue is how and where you carry it. They don’t like you to conceal a whole lot in S.D. and you can’t bring it to a school or public building. However, if you actually carry it in public, you probably won’t make it too far before the Police stop you and have a little “discussion”. If I were you, I would totally buy a sword (if you really want one) but keep it at home.

  8. I read the law concerning unconcealed knife carry in Deadwood, SD but it isn’t clear to me because it mentions carrying on various methods of transportation. It made me feel like unconcealed carry was only NOT permitted on transport vehicles like buses, trolleys, etc. Can you clarify please? Thanks.

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