Todd Settergren is a retired police officer and 18-year Army veteran. While serving in law enforcement, he was a patrol officer, firearms trainer, rangemaster and the department’s only armorer. After leaving the force for medical reasons, Todd opened up a gun repair store in South San Francisco. However, his focus at Setterarms has always been gunsmithing. Many Bay Area police officers depend on Todd to keep their duty weapons functioning properly. After all, Todd is the only full service gunsmith from San Francisco to San Jose.
Those who live around the Peninsula have to drive an hour to San Jose or to the other side of the Bay to find another gunsmith. It’s not only the surrounding police departments and residents of the City by the Bay that depend on Todd for quality gunsmithing; he’s also a family man with mouths to feed. And now his livelihood is in jeopardy because of a select few City Council members in Daly City, California.
Setterarms was originally located at 337 Grand Avenue in South San Francisco until his property owner sold the building with plans to convert it into a restaurant. Todd found what he thought was the perfect location in Daly City, California on a busy, major thoroughfare in what he describes as a “business corridor.” He moved into the building quickly, investing $60,000 of his own money to renovate the property. Going above and beyond local police security requirements, Todd installed high-tech cameras, blacked out the storefront windows, installed metal security doors and both motion and glass breaking sensors.
When it came time to file his application for his “use permit,” the Daly City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the permit. There is nothing in Daly City law that would allow them to vote otherwise. After all, the Dick’s Sporting Goods and Big 5 Sporting Goods stores selling guns in Daly City were never required to get a “use permit.” But when the permit was brought up in a public hearing at the City Council, Councilman David Canepa quickly called for a continuance and the creation of a subcommittee to further “study” Todd’s application. Members of the subcommittee consisted of David Canepa and Vice Mayor Sal Torres.
Worthy of note here is Canepa’s history in Daly City. David Canepa served as Daly City Mayor for a short term. While as Mayor, Canepa signed on as a member of Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. After “further study,” the City Council held a public hearing on September 14, 2015 where Setterarms supporters, as well as those opposed to the gun store showed up to speak about Settergren’s “use permit.” Unfortunately, the City Council voted 3 to 2 to deny Todd’s permit to operate Setterarms in Daly City. There is nothing in the city’s code that bans gun shops from operating in commercial areas, and the City Council has never provided a reason for denying Todd’s permit.
Councilman Mike Guingona voted for approving the permit. He said, “The city has no legal authority to prevent this applicant from opening his business based on land use policy.” One citizen supporter of Todd stood during the public hearing and said, “What I do like is fairness and equal treatment under the law.” Opponents to the store did not base their arguments on any legal standing or facts at all and chose emotional responses instead. One resident said, “The more gun shops that are around, the more temptation, the more chance of criminals having guns.” Teresa Proano, who is the Vice President of Hillside Homeowners Improvement Association said, “It’s not the gun store, it’s the symbolism.” A member of the Calguns forum, “blackrat” says he spoke that day in support of Setterarms:
“If I had known the tactics they were going to employ I would have changed my speech accordingly. As it was my two minutes about how happy I was with his services and how there are no actual gunsmiths in the upper peninsula area was essentially pissing in the wind next to all their emotion-based speeches. Not to say there weren’t a few pro speeches that were well done, several spoke very passionately about how this was a witch hunt and not fair, but we were definitely outnumbered.”
Lawyers for the NRA sent a letter to the Daly City City Council in support of approving the permit, citing the denial as unlawful. On Cam & Co, Todd said, “It’s an injustice.” Todd just wants to open his business so he can support his family, continue to service the local police departments’ weapons and keep the community safe. And now he wants to sue Daly City, but he needs our help. After using his savings to renovate the new location, his family does not have enough funds to cover an attorney to fight his case.
I reached out to Todd:
“The City is currently in belief that I don’t have the money to fight this. That’s why they made the decision of trying to destroy my business. I’m a retired police officer and 18 year Army Veteran and I’m interested in keeping the community safe. The city on the other hand wants to not even give me a chance. The lawyers feel strongly about this case. But I’m trying to secure the funds to fight in case the city doesn’t want to back off and make a deal. If people even donate $1 to $20 each we could possibly reach the goal very quickly. Any and all help is appreciated.”
Todd has started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to fight Daly City: “Setterarms is fighting to open our gun store in Daly City, CA. The City Council is trying to keep a small business owned by a Veteran and Retired Police Officer out of the city by violating city ordinance and state law. We are funding the campaign to pay our legal fees and to keep our location rented while we deal with the city. Any help is appreciated.” This case isn’t just for Todd as an individual, this is a case that all Bay Area gun owners should stand up to help fight. Especially after the news of the last gun shop in San Francisco, High Bridge Arms, permanently closing its doors in October.