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Can a homeowner brandish a weapon on their property in South Dakota?

South Dakota has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. The state allows open carry by anyone over age 18 who can legally possess a firearm, and permits to carry a concealed pistol are relatively easy for qualified applicants to get. The state does not require residents to have a license to possess a handgun in their homes or places of business, nor on land owned by them or others in their households. Residents and non-residents over age 18 (or accompanied by a parent or guardian) may also carry a concealed handgun in their vehicle.

However, these rights are protected as long as the gun owner is a law-abiding resident or non-resident with no recent criminal history that involves a felony, an act of violence or drug charges. Moreover, even law-abiding gun owners on their property could get into trouble with the law if they make threatening motions with a weapon.

For example, those at home or on their property can carry a gun when approaching others in a non-threatening way. However, the gun owner cannot threaten others, aim the weapon at them or make threats that make others fear for their lives. These actions could lead to assault charges or other accusations.

Threatening actions open to interpretation

A gun owner who faces assault charges for “brandishing” a gun on their property still has rights. The case may hinge on claims by the prosecution about threatening behavior or involve other complicated details related to the case. Therefore, those who wish to keep a clean criminal record or avoid serious charges often find it helpful to contact a knowledgeable criminal law attorney to help fight these charges.