ENT660 – Macro Environmental Analysis

Macro Environmental Analysis for Stronghold Armory Indoor Firing Range

The venture concept Stronghold Armory is an indoor gun range in the town of Sierra Vista, Arizona, and the surrounding area. Sierra Vista is the largest town in Cochise county located in southeast Arizona. Cochise county has a military base (Fort Huachuca), a thriving tourist economy from the town of Tombstone, and the wine country of Elgin (both located less than 30 miles from Sierra Vista), and several law enforcement agencies.

Cochise County is in the Arizona high desert. With temperatures reaching in the triple digits for most of the late spring and lasting until early fall, an indoor firing range would be a business for customers to safely utilize firearms out of the weather. There is no business to cater to this customer demographic within an hour and a half drive from Sierra Vista.

This macro-environmental analysis will review the Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors that will have impacts on the firearm industry and the potential opening of the Stronghold Armory Indoor Gun Range in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Political:

The political environment sways to cultural opinions. The elected officials represent their constituents, and public opinions on different business sectors change due to what is happening in society. As the public watches the elections that are taking place throughout all levels of government, an entrepreneur that wants to open a business venture that is heavily regulated must pay close attention to the platforms of the candidates.

 A regulated business such as an indoor gun range is susceptible to all levels of political climates. Under the previous administration, an indoor gun range would be a welcome business from the local, state, and federal governments. However, as the social climate changes, there is a possibility that politicians, incumbents, or newly elected, could want to tighten regulations for not only a shooting range but gun ownership. Many politicians have stood on tighter gun legislation during this election period.

Both political parties have wanted to strengthen small businesses due to the COVID pandemic, but with social distancing, there has been a divide between the politicians on how best to let small businesses operate. Many feel that the worst of the pandemic is over, but with the history of state-mandated business closures, it would not take much for small businesses to be forced to close again.

Economic Trends:

The economic trends have been not been favorable in 2020. As mentioned above the pandemic has affected small businesses and most of the workforce, and a large portion of the population has not recovered from the economy shut down. The COVID pandemic caused the highest job losses since the great depression.  Many have since found jobs, but the loss of income has put financial struggles for a large portion of the population. 

The financial struggles have depleted much of the population’s disposable income. During the time where so many are looking to the government to ensure that they are not evicted, leisure activities were still a thing of luxury. As more of the general public return to a more stable finical place, there will be a resurgence for leisure activities to escape the isolation that so many have endured. 

Social/Cultural Trends:

The social and cultural trends towards firearm-related businesses can be split into three categories; support, oppose, or indifferent. There has been an overwhelming public outcry for firearm legislation to either stricken or loosen gun control over the last decade in the wake of national-wide publicized mass shootings, looting, and rioting. While much of the televised media has shown strong favoritism to support stronger gun control, however, one cannot overlook the record sales of firearms over the last year. Much of the outcry for gun control is to limit illegal gun ownership, which isn’t in opposition to the promotion of gun safety that is the goal of a legal firing range.

The establishment of an indoor firing range would be heavily supported by gun owners. The indifferent, or curious, public that wants a safe way to learn about gun safety would not be opposed. The members of society that oppose firearms may be against an indoor firing range or accept it to support gun safety.

Technological Trends:

An indoor firing range uses much of the same technological trends that any other in-person service industry uses. Modern customers want to be able to reserve and pay for services online and in advance. Having a modern digital storefront is important to customers. If a business does not place close attention to detail on the business’ digital image, the customer will never take the time to evaluate the physical image.

The technology of the actual business has not changed that much over the years. Annually there are small technology improvements to equipment; ventilation, electronics, and materials for the shooting lanes. These changes should be addressed when equipment becomes unserviceable and upgrades are chosen for replacement.

Legal Trends:

The legal trends for an indoor firing range have not changed much in the last several decades. The legal issues that must be addressed are local, state, and federal laws compliance. Local laws that could affect the firing range could be zoning of the land or noise restrictions. Federal laws that could influence business could be how the sale of firearms or ammunition will be performed through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). With current government administrations, there have been no new trends, but with every change of administration of any level, there is a chance that new legislation could be implemented.

Environmental:

An indoor firing range in Southern Arizona would not face the same impacts to environmental changes as that of an outdoor firing range. Southern Arizona already faces high temperatures in the summers and freezing temperatures in the winter. The biggest appeal for an indoor range is to escape the Arizona environment outside.

With the rise of environmental awareness, an indoor firing range is better than an outdoor range for the environment. By having an enclosed area for the shooters to fire their weapons, the facility can harvest the lead from the bullets and brass from the casings and ensure that they are handled by Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The use of bullet traps ensures that all fired rounds are trapped and can be recycled. By working with local and state recycling initiatives, the lead that can become toxic if left in the ground will help protect the environment.

In conclusion, there are threats or benefits for any business from political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal, and environmental factors. When addressing the recreational shooting of firearms, there are strengths as there have been record-breaking sales of firearms this year. With more gun owners, there is a greater need for education and a safe location for the public to utilize those weapons. The firing range industry has been at a stable point for years. As gun ownership increases, there has been a growing demand for firing ranges. The entry cost for launching an indoor firing range remains high, but the current businesses have shown positive sales even with the economic trends being weak.

Sources:

Amadeo, K. (2020). Pay Attention to These 6 US Economic Trends and Protect Your Finances. The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/top-usa-future-economic-trends-3305666

Chauncey Alcorn, CNN Business. (2020). Black Americans and women are fueling 2020’s record-setting gun sales surge, experts say. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/24/business/gun-sales-surge-black-americans-women/index.html

Ibisworld. (2019). IBISWorld – Industry Market Research, Reports, and Statistics. Ibis World. https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/shooting-ranges-industry/ Marr, T. (2020). Arizona Amasses Californians and the Political Climate is Changing. Redfin Real Estate News. https://www.redfin.com/news/red-blue-state-migration

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