What is a Defense to Prosecution Statute? (DTP)Some states regulate NFA items using what is known as a "Defense to Prosecution" (DTP) statute. Instead of registered NFA items being 100% legal, they are actually illegal, and a DTP provides the registered owner a way to defend himself or herself in court if arrested for possessing a short-barreled rifle, suppressor, machine gun, or short-barreled shotgun. Oddly enough, this is the case in a number of otherwise gun-friendly states like Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alaska.
Under a DTP statute, possession of an item regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA) is technically illegal; however, criminal courts are required to accept the defense that the item was possessed in compliance with the National Firearms Act. The NFA Freedom Alliance maintains that DTP statutes place a draconian burden of proof on gun owners and that, because law enforcement officers are not judges and have no authority to rule on the legitimacy of a criminal defense, officers in DTP states are more likely to arrest the owner of a properly registered NFA item and let a court settle the matter.
Furthermore, DTP statutes turn the burden of proof on its head. Instead of a prosecutor proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is required to prove his or her innocence. This should NOT be the case in gun-friendly states!
Although these laws are rarely enforced, when they are, it can be financially devastating, and emotionally taxing on the defendant. The NFA Freedom Alliance is committed to fixing these statutes in as many states as possible. We currently have bills to fix the DTP laws in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Alaska. But we can't do it without the support of our members, so please join us today and consider donating to our lobbying fund.