CARTERET — Some gun permits issued over more than two years were approved without going through the proper screening process — with failures to verify mental health status and criminal backgrounds — prosecutor's say.

The problems with the background checks in Carteret go back as far as around 2015, according to Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey. He said 38 permits issued by the police department never went through the screening for a "proper and complete investigation," as required by New Jersey law.

Carey said at least five cases showed "serious statutory deficiencies," and that his office has filed paperwork to have those permits revoked.

While the investigation is ongoing, Carey said, Carteret Police Director Kenneth Lebrato and other members of the department are cooperating "in an effort to rectify the problem." But an announcement by Carey of the findings didn't explain how the problems developed in the Carteret department or whether anyone was being held accountable.

He also said the State police is helping to issue new applications for permits.

"The assistance of the NJSP is appreciated, and will continue until such time as the present investigation has concluded, and the prosecutor's office is assured that the Carteret Police Department has remedied all procedural issues," Carey said in a statement.

Scott Bach, president of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs said the situation in Carteret is not all that the prosecutor is making it out to be.

"The drama surrounding this issue is absurd," he said.

Bach said under the laws of the state New Jersey residents cannot buy a firearm without going through a stringent federal background check at the point of sale for the weapons.

"What this really shows is that New Jersey's permitting system is redundant, antiquated, and outdated," he said.

Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment society agreed that the New Jersey permit system is "redundant," and said that the people whose permits might be revoked would also have to go the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

While the New Jersey process was adopted in the 1960's, Roubian said the NICS system started in the 1990's, and covers many of the same areas as the state program. According to the FBI the NICS system checks that "each customer does not have a criminal record or isn't otherwise ineligible to make a purchase." Since 1998 there have been more than 230 million checks, of which more than one million have been denied.

The prosecutor asked anyone with information about the matter to call Sgt. Michael Daniewicz at 732-743-5336.

Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or

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