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Save The Last Gunsmith—There is Hope for Bay Area Gun Owners

Gunsmithing table

Action Alert!

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.

Public bill announcing city council meeting
Unfortunately, the City Council voted 3 to 2 to deny Todd’s permit to operate SetterArms in Daly City.
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.

Gunsmithing table
Many Bay Area police officers depend on Todd to keep their duty weapons functioning properly.
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.

To support Todd and all Northern California gun owners, visit the Setterarms GoFundMe page here. Watch an interview with Todd on NRA’s Cam & Co here.

Do you live in Todd’s area? Where do you plan to go now for getting your gun serviced or when looking to buy guns and ammo? Tell us in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (24)

  1. To all you Lawyers in CA reading this, he has a “1984” act Civil Rights case. Check it out, google it. It was a act of Congress and I believe it can be applied to the city council and planning commission that voted his Occupancy & Use Permit down. When a Governmental subdivision knowingly violates a person or persons rights they can be held financially liable. To bad Officials have Governmental Immunity, if they did not and were to be personally liable we would not have a waste of taxpayers money and the taxpayers will have to pay for these officials letting their personal beliefs govern instead of the Law.

  2. I had spent 95 percent of my 57 year old life in California. This last round of tax hikes and outright lack of respect for our constitution helped me to abandon that sinking ship. Just like some others here, I have chosen the breath of fresh air that is the state of TEXAS. I would recommend that Todd do the same. It would be better to save your sanity and open your business in a place you would be completely welcome. We only have so much time on the planet and it’s best spent doing what you love.

  3. What difference in Rights or ability to access government services is there between military or police (ex or active) and a person who worked hard saved their coins that now wants to start a buisness ?
    Why is it seemingly of great import that he was ex police and military when we have dozens of nutcase ex military daily offing themselves and cops to the order of 2 a day being dismissed or arrested for abuse of position and physical abuse even killings.
    The permiting process in any damned vity or burg you gp into is political and yes in most cases the rejection process is slanted so as to protect the buisness’s or quality and character of neighborhoods.
    When the Zoners say “No tavern within ??? Distance of school do we go and protest in favor of a tavern owner who must now move.
    Zoneing laws and rules are revenue enhancers, pocket change bribes for council members and local politicos including crooked cops.
    The corruption is in every fabric of this nations religious and public institutions and while we whine about one individuals buisnesd tens of thousands more are being destroyed by city county and State governments.
    Not the far away feds but your fellow townsfolk or city plastic people.
    There is just as much corruption in State as in Fed anf because so many were shortsighted and just plain too lazy and red white and blue brainwashed to not see where nation was headed years ago we are no longer able to fight for soul of nation but to protect our ass only.
    The old saying of I may not agree with what you say, but will defend your Right to say it, applies here.
    Does this mans loss of a buisness site point to a destruction of 2nd Amendments granting of privelege to have ability to save ones ass, not in
    any legal way.
    Been around anti gov overreach for many years and protested beginning in anti McCarthy days. The darling of US security and conservative brain dead’s and watched after each defeat as gov went even more police dtate militarism and a benign form of creeping facism that today is out there in full view
    Agenda 21 does not owe its roots to foreign nations or UN it is US thinktank Planners doing gov requested studies plan from 1960’s that John Birchers were warning about while Demo and GOP lets vote called them crazys.
    If one thinks this guys buisness is under attack just wait until the full implementation of the new Trans Asian trade rules begin.
    Agenda 21 is but the reordering into a more controllable society from cradel to grave and has already impacted our old Fredoms and Liberty in irreversible ways
    If all tjis guy can raise in aid is a few hundred, we everyday loggers and sliver pickers used to raise couple grand on a beer night in order to aid others, where is the great outpouring of out rage.
    docial ordering necessary for full implementation of NWO.
    The new government yhat it serms the spouters of 2nd helped put in place, inadvertant or not we now face its reality.

    1. Is it just me, or is Hide Behind’s recent rant less coherent than his first, with the spelling and grammar worse. I am no English teacher, nor one to demand perfection in spelling and grammar. I have made more than a few mistakes, but seriously, ‘SPELL CHECK’ is a free download and even comes standard on some devices. However nothing can correct not using punctuation, at least use it occasionally. If you have something to say about the current topic, ie; A city in California denying a business license to this man, and his perfectly legal business, say it and don’t rant and rave about everything that happens to come to feeble mind.

  4. A man who spent most of his life kissing government ass, is now getting his ass kicked by government, some how I find that quite risible.
    He like most in gun culture do not realize they are a niche culture and 99.9% of US populace could not give a fly’n buff about his buisness woes.
    The gun is not the basis of American Freedoms no matter howloud the macho scream and then hands on crotch promice others their own brand of homo erotica.
    our government is so f’d up in every department that has a leech sitting at a desk or in military that we need to look at the whole of government not just get a hard on when the gun is mentioned.
    I know of at least 30 gun owners who never went to a school board, diking district or town hall meeting in their life.
    AND THE ALL HAVE KIDS.
    Thinking with the pecker has got us limp dicks crazy as loons republicans and downright deadly snake called progressives.
    Ever wo der what fn good your support of some fat faced GOP thief has got us in regardsto anything .
    The “status quo” types are now coming out saying you got to vote cuz you cannot resist, hinting that gun owners only know how to resist with violence. THESE gov pensioners and employees do no wNt apple cRt turned over they have too much economicly at stake that they do not even attend outside rLlys.
    Oh they talk and write wjile being paid but as to Ction when was lSt time they went to TIpp or nafta protest or when they lost their 401 k cusions due to bank fraud.
    The are no male leaders today, they have all gone to their femin en side.
    What we need are reL ass kicking women in office, hell Hillary is more man than most gun ownersand she can tell them to kiss her ass and they do.

    1. Hide Behind, you have chosen your ‘handle’ well. You ‘hide behind’ the anonymity offered by this blog to attack not just, legitimate business owners whose livelihoods are being threatened by an overweening government, but you attack gun owners as well. Using your ill-conceived and profane rants, you slander all that do not agree with your myopic world view. Mr. Settergren is a military veteran and retired police officer that has served his country, city and state with honor and deserves better than the treatment he has received at the hands of city officials or from your insane diatribe.

    2. Pygmy, never read in this man’s rant where it was said that Hillary was more man than Obama. Did read where it was said, she was more man the gun owners. I can understand if there was some confusion, could just barely get my mind and eyes to focus on the insane rant. If I missed that part, I apologize. But I won’t re-read it to find that part. Just thinking about that gives me a headache.

    3. Hey Mr. Holbert, I don’t blame you, I saw where hide behind made comment of Hilary being more of a man than than gun owners, I was being sarcastic.

    4. “Hide Behind”, please take an English class or find a better spelling and grammar program. Having basic literacy might go a long way in trying to convince people through creative writing. Intelligence will take you even further, but from what I’m reading, you were not endowed with such blessings.

    5. When you learn to spell in ENGLISH….maybe I will read your tripe…right now most is unintelligble!!!

  5. I just donated to Todd’s legal fund. But I was shocked to see only $320.00 has been donated so far. We all bitch about the anti gun folks, so let’s put our money where our mouth is and help this guy fight this battle.

  6. I lived in California for 18 months after getting out of the army. Then I moved and never looked back. I recommend he does the same.

  7. THis on the heels of San Francisco forcing it’s last gun store out of business with proposed legislation requiring video taping of all purchasers of firearms as well as ammo! Welcome to Kalifornia!

  8. Liberals will kill the 2d Amendment through a sustained and vibrant lie filled anti gun message that will instill in the illiterate masses a fear of guns. The message will be that that only thugs have guns and the only purpose of a gun is to kill other humans. We will make only a limpid and ineffectual defense of that message.

    There will be ill-conceived legislation that will be upheld by anti-gun courts uttering nonsensical reasons for the law’s validity. This legislation and the court rulings will finally emasculate the 2d amendment to the point that wholesale seizure of firearms will be allowed.

    We who understand the reasons behind the 2d will only weakly protest that seizure. Most of us will comply with the turn over request. Many will hide their guns. Many seizures will occur. There will be a few, who resort to violence, but they will be met with overwhelming force and their cases will be used by the media to show that we are indeed a violent lot and the seizures will accelerate.

    We will not win this through violence. We are not the Minutemen of the 18th century. We have had it too good for too long and we do not want to disturb that.

    So what can we do?

    First, support guys like Todd Settergren when they get tangled up in the anti-gun bureaucracy. Fight little battles vigorously and win them. Second, don’t try to recall anti-gun legislators unless you are in it to win. If you don’t succeed you only encourage them to be more extreme with their anti-gun bills. And finally, get off your butts and vote. Study the candidates. Find out who supports the 2d and who doesn’t. Too many of us stay home on Election Day or we don’t mail in that ballot, or we squander our vote on a closet liberal.

    We are not going to win this in any manner other than through the ballot box. So, vote, dammit, vote.

    1. @ Richard,

      Please forgive me as I feel a bit preachy this evening. While I hold no doubts that your message is sincere and concludes with proper intent, I must point out your perceived inaccuracies which lead to flaws in your rendition of actual causation of the anti-gun movement, as well as your resulting predictions towards an ultimate demise of the Second Amendment.

      My message here is not just for you, but to all those reading this, that they may be edified with an expanded philosophy that will assist us all in devising better solutions towards combatting this never ending battle. Simply put, one must know their enemy in order to defeat one’s enemy.

      You wrote: “Liberals will kill the 2d Amendment through a sustained and vibrant lie filled anti gun message that will instill in the illiterate masses a fear of guns.”

      Illiteracy has nothing to do with fear of guns. As a matter of fact, it is the basic instinct of the illiterate that takes to guns better than many of the educated and thus exists the extreme criminal gun-wielding element that is at the root of the problem for both sides of this issue. It’s just that one side understands this better than the other and prefers to protect themselves from such illiterate criminal elements.

      As for fear of guns we have always faced an uphill battle because fear of guns is already naturally inherent in all human beings as a basic survival instinct regardless of politics. In other words, it does not take a liberal message to create such fright given that such fear has already always existed. Regardless as to whether a person is illiterate or educated, any one of them is susceptible to having their fears further exploited given a particular circumstance. It’s just that some illogically attempt to answer their fears by calling for gun control while others answer it by defensively arming themselves.

      Therefore, it is incumbent upon those of us that understand and are in control over such fear to share with and educate the remaining masses. We must do so with the understanding that such a task is a responsibility that is forever perpetual and thus a never ending mission required of us all. The central foundation of which should always start by instilling that the single most significant importance behind ANY citizen’s ability to bear arms is a testament to our individual freedoms, of which, separates us from all other countries.

      We must teach that each and every individual citizen is valued, respected and held with such great esteem that each is considered responsible enough to possess a firearm for the right to defend themselves and not just when it suits the whims of collective government; and that allowing any government to tell a citizen otherwise is the ultimate insult and denial of their freedom and God-given right to defend their very existence.

      Such a revelation could never be properly understood without also teaching that a government arrogant enough to strip ANY individual of such a right is dangerous and in and of itself considered a tyrannical act that violates the core foundations of our Constitution. The defense of which should not be relegated only to those that choose to exercise their Second Amendment right, but that it is the duty of ALL citizens to actively defend regardless of political leanings – given that the alternative is nothing less than tyranny.

      You also wrote: “There will be ill-conceived legislation that will be upheld by anti-gun courts uttering nonsensical reasons for the law’s validity. This legislation and the court rulings will finally emasculate the 2d amendment to the point that wholesale seizure of firearms will be allowed.”

      For you to write, “There will be ill-conceived legislation… upheld”, (emphasis on “will be”) forces me to remind you that we have already been fighting ill-conceived anti-gun legislation for a good many decades. And we are winning each battle at an extraordinary rate with everything from sun-setting laws that previously banned assault rifles to landmark Supreme Court decisions such as Heller in our favor. So why the doom and gloom, do you not see we have been winning?

      There are two ways to motivate – one is through positive thinking and the other through fear mongering by forecasting a dark fate in hopes it will motivate the fight in us all; but in so doing, you take away the credit due to all those that previously assisted in the battles won so far. These wins are the very reason you are still able to lawfully possess firearms to this day. Whether you realize it or not, your doom and gloom forecast demeans and devalues other’s valiant and effective efforts, both past and present.

      I challenge with facts, your notion the anti-gunners could ever (as you wrote), “emasculate the 2d amendment to the point that wholesale seizure of firearms will be allowed”. Historically the antis have vigorously tried, yet always failed miserably at this. So what insight do you possess over the rest of us that have seen their repeated failures?

      In contrast I instead present recent facts – such as Obama’s embarrassing gun-control defeat which was handed to him at the emotional peak of Sandy Hook with a Democrat controlled Senate even. If the massacre of 26 innocents felt on a National scale was not enough to “emasculate” the Second Amendment, I must press you for whatever hidden intuitions you possess that makes one Gunsmith’s potential gun shop loss a more compelling addition to the demise of the Second Amendment? His case hasn’t even made it to the courts yet and you’ve already announce the impending death of the Second Amendment.

      Instead I submit to you that the Second Amendment is stronger and more alive than it has ever been. For years we dared the Supreme Court to take on the toughest anti-gun laws, yet they refused because they knew what we already knew – that the simplistic clarity with which the Second Amendment was written could never be forced into a believable alternative interpretation that would give the anti-gunners what they wanted. And so for years the highest courts always refused Judicial Review of the more controversial gun laws…

      That is until 2008 when we finally managed to force them to look at Heller. And as I’ve already stated, the clarity of the Second Amendment left the Court no choice but to hand us a landmark victory. One that has since allowed many other proverbial dominoes to fall in our favor thereafter.

      Simply put, we are winning. Crime is down while gun purchases and permits are on the rise like no other time in our history. This is why the anti-gun movement has been reduced to petty little town councils that are left with no other power than to pathetically pick on defenseless mom and pop shops in their region. This alone is ample evidence the Second Amendment is nowhere close to death.

      So as I’ve stated in my opening paragraph, your heart is in the RIGHT place and on the RIGHT side, but your methodology and philosophy for arriving there is quite negative and potentially offensive towards all the efforts others have put into getting us here. May I suggest a take on a more positive outlook while maintaining the same dedication to the cause?

  9. I can understand his frustration. There are always those that oppose a person’s right to make an honest living, but will defend to the death the rights of criminals. Why, because these poor people (criminals) are misunderstood, or didn’t get the advantages growing up that others did. California is a seriously messed-up state and I have often wondered what would become of It, if normal people just decided they didn’t want to live there anymore. Let the weirdos, kooks and Hollywood Liberals have the place, see how long they last. How far is Daly City from San Franciso. That city has always been a bastion of normalcy. (Just joking).

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