Daly City businessman denied use permit for gun store

DALY CITY, Calif. (KTVU) – A small business owner is considering filing a lawsuit against Daly City after he was denied a use permit to open a gun shop.

Todd Settergren, owner of SetterArms, LLC, had been renovating a space at 7345 Mission Street in Daly City for several months, after he lost his lease in South San Francisco. Settergren said the building in SSF was sold and the new owners were converting it into a restaurant.

Settergren said the space in Daly City was a no brainer. The former San Francisco State University Police Officer envisioned it as the future spot to sell and repair guns, mainly for law enforcement officials.

“Mission Street is a business corridor,” Settergren said. “It made perfect sense to me.”

But the idea of a gun shop in Daly City did not make sense to a group of concerned citizens who gathered roughly 200 signatures in opposition of the store.

“The more gun shops that are around, the more temptation, the more chance of criminals having guns,” Jennifer Osner, a Daly City resident, said.

Settergren said the city’s planning commission unanimously approved his business, but he hit a roadblock during a city council meeting in August. Councilmember David Canepa called to delay the vote on the use permit to allow the city time to research the issue.

Settergren felt he was unfairly asked to get a use permit because chain stores, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Big 5 Sporting Goods, were not required to obtain a use permit to sell guns in Daly City.

Attorneys on behalf of the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association sent a letter to Daly City on Sept. 9, explaining their delay in a decision was unnecessary and unlawful.

“I think that’s a little unfair and that's where the controversy is,” Settergren said.

Still, Settergren went above and beyond to install security measures at the store, including a buzzer at the front door, blacked out windows, motion sensors, glass break sensors, metal doors, safes, and security cameras.

On Monday, Settergren spoke in front of a heated crowd full of opposition and support.

By a 3 to 2 vote, Daly City Councilmembers denied Settergren a use permit.

Councilmember David Canepa, Mayor Raymond Buenaventura, and Vice Mayor Sal Torres voted against the gun shop. Councilmembers Judith Christensen and Mike Guingona voted to approve the use permit.

“We have no idea where this is going to go from here, but as a community we totally support those three people who chose to vote against the gun shop,” Osner said.

KTVU made repeated to attempts to reach Canepa, Buenaventura, and Torres. An employee at city hall said Buenaventura and Torres would not allow their telephone numbers to be released. An email sent to the city council was not returned. Two days after our initial request for comment, Canepa returned our call, but refused to comment.

Councilmembers Christensen and Guingona each responded to KTVU’s request for comment. They said they felt Settergren was treated unfairly.

In a statement released to KTVU by Guingona, he said: "By voting to deny the applicant on the basis of a philosophical interest is not much different than what the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky is doing relative to marriage licenses. There is no legal basis."

“I’ve got a wife, I’ve got kids… I need to take care of them,” Settergren added. “It hits hard knowing I can't open my business right now.”

Settergren is consulting with the attorneys from the NRA to figure out his next move. Daly City’s city manager said they city will have to defend their position if challenged in court.

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