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Proposed Daly City gun shop fires up debate

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A South San Francisco gun shop owner wants to relocate his business to Daly City and open the store at 7345 Mission St. (Brendan Bartholomew/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The status of a proposed Daly City gun shop is in limbo — but the debate over whether it should exist is garnering attention.

Despite the Planning Commission’s unanimous approval, the City Council recently voted 3-2 to postpone its decision on whether to allow the proposed 7345 Mission St. store to open, and created a subcommittee to study the issue.

The subcommittee they created to study the matter includes Councilman David Canepa and Vice Mayor Sal Torres.

Voting in favor of the continuance were Canepa, Mayor Ray Buenaventura and Torres. Voting against the continuance were council
members Judith Christensen and Mike Guingona.

Owner Todd Settergren hopes to relocate his gun repair shop to the small Mission Street storefront because he lost the lease at his South San Francisco location. And Settergren said the Daly City space might be his only option, because during his six-month search for a new venue, he found that many commercial landlords were not open to having a gun shop as a tenant.

“If this doesn’t go through, I’m going to go out of business,” Settergren claimed.

Settergren said he is sensitive to community concerns about guns, but noted that the bulk of his business is servicing and repairing firearms, as opposed to selling them. A retired police officer, Settergren added most of his customers are law enforcement and security professionals.

Settergren said he might be the only licensed gunsmith in business between San Francisco and San Jose, and there is a need for his services because guns can’t be operated safely without proper maintenance.

Long guns can be purchased at sporting goods stores in Daly City, like Dick’s and Big 5, but those stores do not sell handguns.

Canepa said Settergren’s store would be the first in Daly City whose sole use was gun sales and service, and a thorough community discussion should happen before such a precedent is established.

“I asked for a continuance because I heard from community members who said they had no idea this was happening,” said Canepa, who is also a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Hillside Homeowners Improvement Association Vice President Teresa Proano noted that, in accordance with the law, notices were mailed to addresses within a 300-foot radius of the gun shop’s proposed location. That’s not helpful, Proano said, because most of those addresses are places of business, and few notices were mailed to residents.

Sonny Quiniquini, president of the Franciscan Residents Advisory Committee at the nearby Franciscan Park mobile home community, said he feared the shop could become “a magnet” for people with a common interest in guns.

Christensen, who has frequently clashed with Canepa on a variety of issues, said she voted against the continuance partly because a representative of the Daly City Police Department testified that Settergren’s security plans went “above and beyond” city requirements.

“He has three security plans, so there’s triple-redundancy, and nobody gets into the building without being buzzed in,” Christensen said, adding, “I hate guns, but this guy impressed me.”

Settergren has already invested in improving the Mission Street property, and has met or exceeded all of the city’s requirements, Christensen said, and delaying a vote on the matter until the next council meeting — scheduled for Sept. 14 — only serves to deprive his family of income.

“If Canepa was so concerned about this, why didn’t he bring it up before?” Christensen asked, “There was plenty of time to do a study session between the June 7 Planning Commission meeting and our August 10 council meeting.”

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