Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Victim becomes 'the victor' by getting a permit to carry, After attack at florist shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Washington Island, across Death's Door, Wisconsin, USA

    Post imported post

    Beth's got a gun
    Alan Hawes
    The Post and Courier
    Beth Ferguson gets instruction as she prepares to fire a .22 caliber gun under the supervision of firearms instructor Frank DiNardo as she trains for her concealed weapons permit. Ferguson was brutally attacked and tied up by a man after she stopped by a North Charleston flower shop to pick up an order.
    She was beaten, kicked in the face, gagged, tied to a chair and locked in a closet.
    After escaping that nightmare, Beth Ferguson needed nearly two weeks to garner the courage to step out of her home. Her first trip was to church, her safe haven.
    She went on a Saturday night, hoping fewer people would be there as opposed to the heavily attended Sunday morning service. But it was packed.
    "It's odd, because when you're a victim of something like this, you almost begin to act like a victim. I got real overwhelmed and nervous. I was scared half to death, and I didn't know why," Beth said. "Have you ever seen a scary movie and been scared afterward? That's what it's like."
    She endured the glances from curious church members, who couldn't help but see the bruises and cuts on her face. After that night, Beth decided she needed to return to a normal life. But she still felt violated, unsafe. She was living in fear.
    Her second trip out of the house: a gun shop on Cross County Road in North Charleston.
    "I'm going back to work one day," Beth said. "And when I do, I'll have a gun."
    The attack; the recovery
    Beth, 41, was the only customer in the Carolina Florist shop on Ashley Phosphate Road late in the afternoon on April 10.
    The man behind the counter advised her to look through a book so she could pick out a corsage for her son's prom. Suddenly, he held a knife to her throat.
    Video Beth Ferguson attempts to get her concealed weapon permit in the wake of her being attacked Watch »
    She fought, but he choked her until she was unconscious. She woke up to find him standing over her. When she fought again, he kicked her in the face until she agreed to cooperate.
    In the locked closet, Beth sat tied to a chair, a tennis ball stuffed in her mouth. But then the man drove away, and Beth seized the moment to free herself. After she climbed through the false ceiling and dropped down into the bathroom next door, she smashed her way out through the front glass window to freedom.
    Lemar "Tommy" Mack, the 45-year-old husband of the florist shop owner, was arrested two days later. He was charged with kidnapping, armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill.
    Mack had previously been convicted and served jail time for abducting a woman at a Kmart on Rivers Avenue and raping her. He also had been convicted for attacking women in 1979 and 1984. He remains at the Charleston County Detention Center because he can't make the $3 million bail.
    Beth has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Mack and his wife, Deborah Mack, and Carolina Florist.
    Nadine Parks
    The Post and Courier
    Kidnapping victim Beth Ferguson talks with firearms instructor Frank DiNardo June 11 at Trader World Gun Shop as she tries to decide which gun to buy. Ferguson was beaten and tied up inside a locked closet at Carolina Florist on Ashley Phosphate Road.
    Weeks after the attack, she walked into a gun shop for the first time.
    A steady stream of customers flowed in and out of Trader World Gun & Indoor Range, where dozens of shotguns, rifles and assault weapons line the walls.
    Shaking, Beth headed for the glass encasement filled with handguns. It runs the length of the shop. Boxes of ammunition sat on the counter. Behind it stood Frank DiNardo, a handgun in a holster on his side.
    Frank, a firearms instructor for nearly 30 years, was expecting Beth. Her instruction began with their first handshake — firm, thumb straight forward, not to the side.
    "That's how you hold a gun," Frank told her.
    As the two talked, Beth saw a fellow church member from Cathedral of Praise. The woman had heard of Beth's kidnapping; she was there to buy pepper spray. Several women from the church, in fact, had come in for spray and stun guns. A group of them was considering purchasing handguns. One of them already was receiving private firearms instruction from Frank.
    Beth asked Frank if she needed to buy her gun before her firearms lessons began.
    "You're not ready," he said. He worried about her emotional state so soon after the attack.
    "One minute I'm fine, and the next, I'm crying for no reason," she had told him. Counseling sessions were being arranged.
    Frank scheduled her gun classes to start about 10 days after their first meeting. Four hours each class. Five classes. Maybe then she would be ready, Frank said.
    Men, women and guns
    Mic Smith
    The Post and Courier
    Beth Ferguson fire a pistol during gun training at Trader World gun shop.
    Frank sees a difference between the sexes when it comes to buying a gun.
    Men tend to walk in and buy on the spot, then schedule only the training required if they decide to apply for a concealed weapons permit.
    Women are more cautious. They want to learn how to properly handle and fire a gun first, then decide if they will buy, Frank said.
    Frank recommends taking three courses before the purchase — a basic course in the handling, firing and storing of a handgun; a personal protection course; and a course on carrying concealed handguns.
    On May 6, Beth started classes, and she found a new friend in her instructor. Frank listened as she told him her story and cried.
    "We're going to go through this together," he said.
    The bruises on her face had healed. Some redness in her left eye was the only visible trace of the assault.
    "My outside's healed a lot, but my inside needs healing," Beth said.
    She cried less often, and she and her husband had resumed their weekly date nights. Still, she sometimes had panic attacks when she was alone, or if she saw someone who looked like the man who attacked her.
    She found strength in the 100-plus cards and letters from friends and strangers. She resolved to arm herself with a gun.
    "What the Lord told me is, 'You're going to be the victor, not the victim.' "
    A gun in the hand
    The three basic rules for handling a gun were in large, capital letters on a screen in the training room May 6:
    Frank takes a slow and easy approach to teaching people how to use handguns. He starts with a toy gun, then uses dummy cartridges to teach people how to load a real revolver.
    In the hot, darkened firing range, the first gun Beth shot was an air pistol. The recoil is slight when the gun is fired, and it makes little noise. She fired at inflated balloons, which made a pop that helped prepare her for the sound of a gun blast.
    Next, Beth brought in a .22- caliber pistol. It is loud, and the recoil made her hand jiggle slightly as she shot off 10 rounds at the target — a paper figure of a man. Tiny puffs of smoke wafted from the gun, and the metal casings pinged against the concrete floor beneath her.
    Beth grinned. "It's not so bad."
    June brought a different Beth to the Trader World gun shop for her second class.
    She prepared a short speech for a judge when her accused assailant requested that his bond be reduced. She was relieved when she learned the judge would not consider it.
    A counselor had helped her deal with post-trauma stress. Panic attacks came less frequently, and she felt much stronger.
    Frank took off the kid gloves and put a 9 mm pistol in Beth's hands.
    A startling blast and a bright red flash erupted from the gun, and Beth's hand jumped upward. She winced and then stood motionless in a cloud of gray smoke.
    "Your whole body just jolts. It was so powerful. I felt like I couldn't control it," she said.
    Beth learned that choosing a firearm is like buying a good pair of shoes. It has to fit.
    The 9 mm was too much. The .38-caliber revolver was easier to control — less recoil, but the trigger was more difficult to pull and it had no safety lock. She definitely wanted her gun to have a safety feature.
    Something between those two, a .380-caliber pistol, seemed just right. Moderate recoil, good control and a safety lock. It was small to boot — the perfect concealable weapon.
    Back to work
    By mid-June, Beth felt a lot more like her old self — the one who was strong and trusting and confident.
    She had vowed not to return to work without a firearm, but she was needed to help run the six mattress stores she and her husband own. Pepper spray would do while she finished her firearms classes and applied for her concealed weapons permit.
    Her first day back overwhelmed and frightened her. Finding a full day too much at first, she eased herself back to work.
    "Baby steps," Beth said.
    With the basic gun course behind her, Beth started an eight-hour concealed weapons course that would teach her the laws about guns.
    Although citizens with a permit can carry a weapon, the gun cannot be visible. Beth experimented with a variety of options, including keeping her gun in her purse, in her pocket or in a holster on her hip or ankle. She quickly ruled out keeping it in her purse, because one of the first things her attacker did was take her purse.
    "If there was a gun in my purse, he would have had it," Beth said.
    The big day
    On July 2, Beth was strong again, empowered even. She held a pistol with conviction as she stepped onto the range for the shooting test for her concealed weapons permit. She had to hit the target at least 35 times out of 50 shots, and she made it look easy.
    "She shot a 46 out of a possible 50," Frank said. "She did extremely well."
    Beth aced her written test as well, and the permit application was off in the mail.
    In mid-October Beth's concealed weapons permit arrived. She met up with Frank and purchased the little .380-caliber pistol that she had eyed months earlier.
    The attack earlier in the spring was behind her. Beth has her life back, and now she's packing heat.
    "If I'm in a situation that's life or death, I want to live," she said. "So I'm prepared."

    To get an S.C. concealed weapons permit
    Requirements for acquiring a concealed weapons permit in South Carolina:
    --Age 21 or older
    --Resident of South Carolina for at least 90 days
    --Have three photographs taken
    --Eye exam
    --Fingerprinting ($5)
    --South Carolina identification card or driver's license
    --Eight-hour concealed weapons course, which includes instruction on handgun storage, use and safety and information about state gun laws
    --County, state and federal background checks
    --$50 application fee

    Handgun purchase requirements in S.C.
    Like any other person walking into a gun shop, Beth Ferguson was subject to a federal firearms purchase law.
    Law-abiding citizens will find a gun fairly easy to buy. There is no waiting period in South Carolina, and you can generally be in and out of a shop with your new gun in less than an hour.
    Show proof that you are age 21 or older and have lived in South Carolina for at least 90 days. A driver's license will do. The gun shop calls for a federal background check and has a response in about 20 minutes.
    Not everyone can buy a gun. Felons, fugitives, drug users, illegal aliens, the mentally ill and people who have been convicted of domestic violence are among those restricted from owning firearms in the United States. Even if a potential buyer is not prohibited for one of those reasons, the gun dealer can refuse the sale for any reason.
    --Age 21 or older
    --Resident of South Carolina for at least 90 days
    --South Carolina identification card or driver's license
    --Federal background check (generally takes about 20 minutes)
    --Note: There is no waiting period for a gun purchase in South Carolina.

    Who can't buy a gun
    --People who have pending charges for or have been convicted of a felony punishable by more than one year in prison or a misdemeanor punishable by more than two years in prison
    --Users of illegal drugs and those who have been convicted of controlled-substance crimes within the past year
    --Any person who, in a court proceeding, has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution or has been deemed mentally defective or incompetent
    --Illegal aliens
    --Someone who has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
    --A person who has renounced United States citizenship
    --Anyone who is the subject of a restraining order
    --People convicted of criminal domestic violence

    Places a gun can't go in the Palmetto State
    Where you can't take a gun in South Carolina:
    --Law enforcement building
    --Detention facility
    --Polling place on election day
    --Government building
    --School athletic event
    --Day care or preschool
    --Religious sanctuary
    --Medical facility
    --Publicly-owned building
    --Someone's home without their permission
    --A building with signs posted that state "No Concealable Weapons Allowed"
    --An establishment, including restaurants, where alcohol is served for consumption on premises
    Reach Nadine Parks at 937-5573 or

  2. #2
    State Researcher
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Bear, Delaware, USA

    Post imported post

    Great pro article.

  3. #3
    Moderator / Administrator
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    SC residents need to get into the game on open carry rights in your state.

  4. #4
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mag-bayonettes!, Virginia, USA

    Post imported post

    great article

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Washington Island, across Death's Door, Wisconsin, USA

    Post imported post

    Mike wrote:
    SC residents need to get into the game on open carry rights in your state.
    Yes, you are right and GRASS ROOTS GUN RIGHTS SOUTH CAROLINA knows that the uninfringed 2A is the solution (though I shouldn't speak for GRGRSC).

    I left the NRA over the up-roar when I suggested diminishing their power in the State.

    The NRA cannot afford open carry; without infringements (e. g.,of requiring concealed carry) the NRA has no raison d'etre, they have no sin of which to sell dispensations of forgiveness.

    The SC NRA/affiliate is the meanest, most low downest, back stabbing, lying sack of bull's 'members' .... Then I learned that the North Carolina NRA/affiliate is as bad and the National is worse.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts