South Dakota law requires stakeholders to submit records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) identifying people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms due to their mental condition.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition after a person has been found by a court or other lawful authority to be a danger to self or others, or to “lack[] the mental capacity to contract or manage [their] own affairs,” as a result of their mental condition. Federal law also prohibits firearm and ammunition access after a person has been involuntarily hospitalized or committed to a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility by a court or other lawful authority.1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the NICS database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In South Dakota, reporting is a two step process – individuals at the courts and at mental health facilities report information to the state attorney general, and then the Attorney General reports all of these records to NICS.

Prosecuting attorneys are required to report to the attorney general the names and identifying information of people who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity and people who have been found incompetent to stand trial.2

If the “board of mental illness” orders someone to be involuntarily committed based on a finding that they pose a risk to self or others, the board must also report relevant identifying information about that person to the attorney general.3

The attorney general must report to NICS the names and information of people found not guilty by reason of insanity, people who have been found incompetent to stand trial, and people who have been involuntarily committed based on a finding that they are a danger to self or others.4

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue nationwide.

Notes
  1. Federal law, enacted in 1968, still uses archaic and offensive terminology to prohibit firearm access by people who have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to any mental institution” but these terms are defined as described above. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4); 27 CFR § 478.11. ⤴︎
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-47. ⤴︎
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 27A-10-24. ⤴︎
  4. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-48. ⤴︎