DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of North Carolina

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Jill Westmoreland Rose
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lia Bantavani

Macon County Federal Firearms Licensee Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison for Selling Firearms to a Prohibited Person

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A Macon County federal firearms licensee was sentenced today to a 30-month prison term for selling firearms to a prohibited person, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Philip Nelson Elliott, 55, of Franklin, N.C., was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. to serve three years under court supervision following his prison term.

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division.

"Federally-licensed firearms dealers are expected to be one of our first lines of defense to deprive convicted felons from purchasing firearms. Recent events underscore the importance of keeping guns out of the wrong hands. My office will vigorously prosecute gun dealers who put personal gain ahead of public safety," said U.S. Attorney Rose.

"This case is an example of the types of investigations ATF conducts on a daily basis to keep our communities safe. ATF will continue to work with our investigative partners to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and aggressively seek to bring individuals who provide firearms to criminals to justice," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Hyman.

According to the filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Philip Elliott was a federal firearms licensee who operated "Mountain Top Coins, Guns and Ammo" (Mountain Top), a firearms business located in Franklin. Court records show that Philip Elliott’s brother, Donald Eugene Elliott, also worked at Mountain Top. According to court records, from March to July 2014, Philip Elliott sold multiple firearms to a convicted felon and was therefore prohibited from possessing a firearm. Court records show that in addition to selling the firearms, Philip Elliott discussed selling the felon rocket-propelled grenade launchers and told the felon he was willing to buy stolen goods, including stolen firearms.

While executing a search warrant at Mountain Top, ATF agents seized approximately 20 firearms in the store which were "off the books," meaning they were not included in the ATF Acquisition and Disposition Records as required of federal firearms licensees. Philip Elliott pleaded guilty in July 2015 to one count of selling a firearm to a prohibited person.

Law enforcement also seized seven firearms and ammunition from Donald Elliott’s residence. Donald Elliott’s previous felony conviction prohibits him from owning a firearm. He pleaded guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced in December 2015 to six months in prison and two years of supervised release.

The investigation was handled by ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.

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Field Division: Charlotte Field Division