Former cop suing City Council to open gun shop in Daly City

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KTVU – A small business owner who was denied a use permit to operate a gun repair and sales store last year is suing the city of Daly City because of the decision.

Todd Settergren, a former U.S. Army captain and San Francisco State University police officer, of Setterarms, LLC, filed the lawsuit against the city, the city council and Vice Mayor David Canepa on Jan. 15 in San Mateo County.

“I never wanted this battle,” Settergren said “I never wanted this to occur. It’s a fight I didn’t start. It’s a fight I unfortunately have to be involved with and finish in order to survive as a business.”

The lawsuit alleges the city unfairly required Settergren to obtain a use permit to operate, despite other stores not meeting the same requirement. Settergren said Dick’s Sporting Goods and Big 5 Sporting Goods, which sell weapons in Daly City, were able to get a business license without a use permit.

Still, Settergren complied, sent out public notices, and outlined a strict safety plan for the store in an effort to maximize public safety. He said the city’s Planning Commission approved the application for a use permit and recommended the council approve the permit in August 2015.

Canepa called to delay the vote until September 2015 where the use permit was ultimately denied by a 3 to 2 vote.

“Later to find out through my attorneys, [Canepa] actually sent emails to an anti-gun group regarding my business before the votes even happened.”

Canepa shared his store of the story and his thoughts on lawsuit.

“This is all about intimidation tactics and the special interests behind Mr. Settergren,” Canepa said, referencing Settergren’s attorneys, Michel and Associates, known for their work with the National Rifle Association.

The vice mayor said he did send emails to the Law Center Against Gun Violence regarding Settergren in Sept. 2015 to discuss gun dealer legislation regarding land use. Canepa said he was inquiring about legislation that would prevent future gun stores from opening in close proximity to schools. He said he’s now working to introduce that legislation in the coming months.

“In no way am I or the community going to be intimidated by a lawsuit and if Mr. Settergren thinks this is a personal issue against him, he’s completely wrong,” he added.

Canepa plans to fight the lawsuit and referenced 200 signatures on a petition from residents who opposed the gun store’s opening last year.

“My responsibility is to listen to the voice of this community,” Canepa said. “This community does not want this gun shop.”

When asked if Settergren was unfairly required to get a use permit, Canepa said the matter would be settled in court.

“To me this is not about guns,” Settergren said. “It’s about the right of due process, a small business trying to open and other people trying to make it into something it’s not.”