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

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

South Dakota requires the board of mental illness to report within seven working days any person involuntarily committed because he or she is a danger to self or others to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS.2 It also requires a prosecuting attorney to report within seven working days any person who is acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity or determined to be incompetent to stand trial to the Attorney General for reporting to NICS.3 The Attorney General must transmit this information to NICS.4 South Dakota law also provides a procedure for a person prohibited from possessing guns under federal law due to mental illness to regain his or her gun eligibility.5

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the South Dakota Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). ⤴︎
  2. S.D. Codified Laws § 27A-10-24. ⤴︎
  3. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-47. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. S.D. Codified Laws § 23-7-49. ⤴︎