Authorities on Thursday said 30 guns, including 18 ghost guns, were found in the home of a Massapequa dentist. Newsday's Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Newsday staff; Jane Reilly; Photo Credit: NCPD

A Massapequa dentist was arrested on charges he had 20 illegal firearms and 3,000 rounds of ammunition in the basement of his home office after his secretary heard him racking a rifle Wednesday afternoon and called 911, police said Thursday.

Paul Carey, 62, whose dental practice is located on the first floor of his Riviera Drive East home, briefly barricaded himself inside the house, police said. He surrendered to authorities with the intervention of his wife, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said during a Thursday news briefing at police headquarters in Mineola. No one was injured.

Police found 30 guns — 20 of which are illegal assault weapons — in the basement of the home, Ryder said. Eighteen of the 20 guns are "ghost guns," which have no serial numbers and are therefore untraceable, Ryder said. The ghost guns were purchased through the mail and Carey assembled them in a machine shop he had in his basement, Ryder said. Police also confiscated seven silencers, 61 high-capacity magazines and 3,000 rounds of ammunition, Ryder said.

Carey’s Garden City-based defense attorney John Carman said in a statement: "Paul Carey, like many Americans, has a hobby of making weapons for collection purposes. State and federal gun laws are complicated but provide considerable latitude for this activity. The good news is that he is a dentist and harbored no intentions of hurting anyone."

After his arrest, Carey was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for a "medical and mental evaluation," according to felony complaint filed by Nassau police detectives in Nassau County District Court. Carey’s wife gave police consent to search the home, the complaint said.

Carey was charged with first-degree and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon as well as three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Nassau District Court Judge David Levine set bail at $100,000 bond and granted a stay away order, said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly, also speaking at the news briefing.

"These ghosts guns without serial numbers scare me," Donnelly said. "The number has increased exponentially in the last couple of months of how many we are taking off the street. It is fair to say this defendant allegedly had an arsenal of weapons in his home. I’ve handled a number of gun investigations in my career, but what I’m seeing in the last several months is truly unprecedented."

NCPD Commissioner Patrick Ryder, right, with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman,...

NCPD Commissioner Patrick Ryder, right, with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, left, and Nassau District Attorney Ann Donnelly discuss ghost guns that were discovered at a man's house in Massapequa. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau police received a 911 call at about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday from Carey’s secretary, Ryder said.

"Yesterday, while he appeared to be agitated and intoxicated, he went upstairs and his secretary heard him racking a rifle, a shotgun," said Ryder. "She immediately ran out of the house; she called 911."

"Using the wife to speak to the husband, he then peacefully came out and we placed him under arrest," Ryder said.

Ryder said Carey had been a licensed pistol holder until Dec. 5, 2012.

Paul Carey is arrested in front of his Massapequa home Wednesday,...

Paul Carey is arrested in front of his Massapequa home Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

"We took his license at that date because he fired rounds in his backyard," Ryder said. "He was permanently revoked on June 27 of 2016. So he has not had any legal right to possess a weapon since December 5 of 2012."

Carey has been arrested several times, according to Ryder, including for second-degree menacing with a weapon and use of a dangerous weapon on Sept. 29, 2001; second-degree reckless endangerment with a weapon on Dec. 1, 2012; DWI and leaving the scene of an accident on Oct. 30, 2020, and DWI and second-degree reckless endangerment on March 21, 2021. The DWI cases are pending, according to online records. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in the 2012 arrest and received a $500 fine, the records show. The disposition of the 2001 case was not available.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Carey's arrest was a "very tense situation" for police.

"You had an individual who had a cache of illegal ghost guns at their home and office and they were able to take that situation, which could have turned violent, and they were able to resolve it in a peaceful way and apprehend the individual," Blakeman said.

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