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    A Republican Tried to Introduce a Commonsense Gun Law. Then the Gun Lobby Got Involved.

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    Following a deputy sheriff killed in the Denver neighborhood, Colorado state Rep. Cole Wist took action by signing a red flag bill. The bill could result in him losing his position. ProPublica interviewed Wist concerning the harsh reality of reforming the gun industry.

    Cole Wist was a Republican state House member from Colorado who received an A grade in the NRA. In 2018 he supported an anti-red flag law proposing legislation that would allow guns to be removed for a short period from those who pose a danger to them or anyone else.

    Wist was forced out of the legislature due to outrage by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an organization for gun rights located in Colorado. It boasts that it will accept “no compromise” as it fights “the gun grabbers.” The group waged a campaign against him, dispersing brochures and referring to his social media accounts as “Cole the Mole.”

    Wist, an attorney, does not regret attempting to implement what he thought was a reasonable response to the rising rate of shootings in the United States. He intervened when a mentally ill person in his Denver suburb shot and killed the sheriff’s deputy. The bill wasn’t passed till after Wist was removed from office, and his successor, Tom Sullivan, shepherded it through. Sullivan was a Democrat and lost his son during his tragic shooting at the Aurora Theater massacre.

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    Wist quit his position with the Republican Party this year, in part, citing his involvement in January. 6th, 2021 protests as the reason and are no longer associated with political parties of any kind. A few days after the murder of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school located in Texas, ProPublica talked to Wist about the challenges faced as gun rights advocates continue to implement gun reforms.

    Colorado is among 19 states, including Illinois, Florida, and Indiana, which have red flag laws, sometimes known as extremely risk-protection orders. Texas does not. Following shootings at the Robb Elementary School massacre on Tuesday, an all-party coalition in the U.S. Senate agreed to talk about possible anti-violence measures, including the expansion of Red Flag laws.

    In Colorado, a Rocky Mountain Gun Owners spokesperson called Wist “a sellout” on Friday and stated that the group was forced to oppose him. “At the end of the day, my goal is to hold politicians accountable regardless of whether they’re a Republican or a Democrat,” stated RMGO’s executive director Taylor Rhodes.

    Rhodes described the school’s “massive terrorist attack” at the school but said that gun control isn’t the solution.

    “We defend all that is valuable by using guns. We safeguard our banks by using guns and courts … the homes we live in. We defend our banks by using firearms.” The group logo features a picture of a gun, which is reminiscent of one of the assault weapons.

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    The interview with Wist was edited to improve clarity and length.

    Let me know the reason you brought the bill to Colorado.

    Every time we experience incidents like this, there is a tendency for people to go to their respective camps. Some believe we should ban certain types of firearms or extend universal background checks, or any other ideas to ban guns from our society. On the other hand, we are surrounded by people who say they’re mental health problems, which is a sign of a more significant mental health problem in the nation. However, you’ll notice that I don’t receive several solutions to policy issues from these people. Therefore, to explore ways to link the topic of mental health with the concoction of mental health issues with access to firearms and firearms, I began to research extremely risk-related protection orders and how other states have implemented them. One state that was the very first to pass this law was Indiana. I don’t think anyone would ever believe you are in Indiana. Indiana is a hard-left state in any way. Finally, I decided to introduce legislation on the extreme risk order for protection.

    In your time as a state legislator, when you were a member of the state legislature, Republicans had control of the state Senate and Democrats held the House. What was the composition of your state legislature?

    I was the representative for a district that was at the time a majority Republican. The district had been historically populated by Republican lawmakers, but the district was considered a suburb district that was becoming more purple. You are aware that once you’re selected to serve a legislative district, it’s not just a matter of being elected by those who have voted for you. You’re elected to represent all district residents, which includes all non-affiliated Democratic people.

    Who opposed you when you ran for reelection back in 2018?

    There’s also a group called The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an active gun-rights group. The group targeted me or my race to conduct campaign activities and actively fought against me. … They placed posters on doors of people, including my own, and utilized their resources to fight me.

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    Do you a member of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, similar to the National Rifle Association?

    I believe they describe themselves as a no-compromise gun-rights group. They are as being more assertive on gun rights issues than NRA. In addition, the NRA is the most known organization, one with the most resources. In Colorado, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is the gun rights organization that holds the most significant influence. They’ve had success in bringing back some legislators in this state.

    Did you feel like they sacrificed your seat to communicate to the other legislators to stay in the line?

    It’s probably an acceptable interpretation. You can either stay within the line and take the party’s direction on this issue, or they’ll take you off. This is precisely the thing they did. It’s true; there were other variables in the 2018 election. The midterm election also marked Donald Trump’s first term as president, the only time he was in office. Therefore, there was more to consider than gun laws. However, it was an element that worked against my reelection, and did not assist. … The adversity could be enough to stifle participation from that Republican party for me.

    Was there a reaction from the GOP leadership to your endorsement of the bill that is known as the red flag?

    The position I held was that of the assistant minority leader of the State House at the time. There was a plan to take me out of this leadership position. The effort was unsuccessful. I believe there’s a hesitation within Republican circles in this country to confront groups like that of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners for fear of not being able to run for president because of the risk of them working against your campaign. People may consider my experience having something that stops them from having any conversations. I introduced a highly controversial bill. In these circles, engaging in discussions about gun policies or safety legislation is a risk to people in Republican circles in this area. If your goal is to remain in the office for an extended period and be renewed … it’s best not to overstep the line.

    In the wake of Uvalde, What does your experience tell you about the probability of our elected officials enacting actions to stop any future atrocities?

    I’ve seen sure signs popping up again following this tragedy when everybody retreats to the corner. Some are calling for the ban of certain kinds of firearms and changing the purchase age of specific types of weapons. If you attempt to eliminate AR-15s, I think this is a solution to the policy issue which some belief would be a good idea to consider. I’m not convinced. We have millions of guns in the hands of gun owners across the nation. What impact will you be able to have if you prohibit certain types of guns currently? I believe the best way to discuss this is to discuss the reasons people engage in these types of violent acts using firearms and other kinds of weapons. … So, I think that laws regarding red flags as well as legislation that focuses on reducing the risk, and discussing why these types of incidents happen is the most beneficial conversation that we can have. Let’s give law enforcement agencies and families tools they can utilize.

    However, one thing that isn’t mentioned in this discussion is that — I’ll discuss specifically Colorado. We boast one of the highest rates of suicide across the nation. Also, we have one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country, and guns cause the highest percentage of suicides in Colorado. If someone is experiencing a mental disorder, there’s a chance of committing murder, but there’s also an increased chance they’ll injure themselves. Therefore, I believe there’s an approach to portraying the laws that are deemed red flags as a way of confiscating guns and attempting to violate the constitutional rights of a person. However, I believe this is a tool to protect the person by preventing self-harm and safeguarding their family members from being hurt.

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    Can you explain the toll this event affected the family and you?

    I was threatened because I went through this process. It was extremely difficult for our family. I’m not a fan of that aspect of life in public. Also, social media and other technologies make being in the office extremely difficult. It is possible to say anything about anything and almost anything. So, I’m able to do two things. As a citizen of the world, I can choose to withdraw from this topic and not even talk about it or attempt to do my best to spread awareness and inspire people to join forces. I’m not sure that you’ll ever be able to change the minds of all people. However, we can’t solve issues when we don’t talk with each other and not snub one another. Each time we face an incident, like the one at the state capitol in Texas the week before, we have the initial”let’s talk about it, let’s get together, let’s discuss this. However, I’m amazed by how quickly everyone gives up on the old position. I’m hoping that this time will be something different.

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    Business

    Types Of Business Bank Accounts.

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    Learn how checking, CDs, and money market accounts work

    You may know the ins and outs of managing your personal checking accounts, but what about doing the same for your business? When thinking about different types of business bank accounts, you obviously want to know which ones may best fit your company.

    While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, having an understanding of the different accounts, banking requirements, and when they might be necessary can make your choice much simpler.

    Is It Necessary To Have Separate Bank Accounts?

    While separate bank accounts are not a requirement for sole proprietors and small businesses that are not incorporated, they can be crucial when it comes to scaling your business.

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    Though business bank accounts function in the same way as personal accounts, owners gain more protection when designating these transactions. For example, if your business was facing a legal claim, having a business bank account may further protect your personal finances versus having them intertwined with your entity.

    You can also accept checks and credit card payments for your business, add employees as authorized users, and start to open business lines of credit. Having a business bank account is also required when applying for many types of loans.

    Checking Account

    Chances are you’ve already had one or several personal checking accounts, so business checking accounts shouldn’t be a drastic change. One of the main differences, though, is that the account will be in your business’s name, which means more professional invoicing, statements, and checks when issuing payments.

    You can make deposits, transfers, and withdrawals just as you would with your personal account. There may be limits on certain types of transactions– for example, with a Bank of America ATM card, users can only withdraw $700 per day depending on the state.

    When you’re opening your business bank account, make sure to read all of the details on the financial institution’s site to ensure any limits align with your anticipated transaction volume.

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    The checking account may or may not come with maintenance fees. Some come with optional services like Positive Pay, which helps prevent check fraud, typically for an additional fee. Generally speaking, business checking accounts will require an opening deposit or a monthly minimum. There are free business checking accounts that waive monthly fees or exclude them altogether.

    Savings Account.

    Business savings accounts do allow your business profits to grow at a set interest rate but compared to checking accounts, the funds are not usually as accessible.

    These accounts also come with set guidelines on deposits, concerning both methods and amounts. With Chase Business Total Savings, for example, users are allowed up to 15 deposits and $5,000 in monthly cash deposits at no charge. This means that fees are incurred once maximums are reached.

    Minimum deposits for business savings accounts may also be higher than checking accounts and the amount deposited may impact your annual percentage yield (APY).

    Certificate of Deposit Account.

    Certificate of deposit (CD) accounts may be attractive because they can earn you a higher APY and therefore a bigger return.

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    The caveat is that you are agreeing to put away money for a specified time and penalties will be levied if you need to withdraw before the maturity date. Terms will vary from bank to bank but can range anywhere from 28 days to 10 years.

    Rates are also variable, but typically the higher the minimum deposit required the higher the APY offered will be.

    A few additional aspects to keep in mind are that though all CDs issued by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)- insured banks are protected, not all banks are covered. There are also different types of CDs that you can open depending on your long-term financial goals for your business.

    Money Market Account.

    If you’re stuck between the idea of business saving accounts and CDs, money market accounts (MMAs) may be an option worth considering.

    These interest-bearing accounts may offer higher APY than your traditional savings accounts and permit users to issue checks depending on the bank. MMAs can come with fewer barriers when it comes to accessing funding, with some banks offering ATM access and the ability to link to a business checking account to bypass certain fees.

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    However, like CDs, these accounts may work best for businesses that keep higher monthly balances in savings.

    How To Open a Small Business Bank Account.

    Now that you know more about the different types of business bank accounts, it’s time to do some research and open your account.

    First and foremost, when opening your small business bank account, thoroughly research the banking institution. Is it online or brick-and-mortar? Do they have banking products that your business could use in the future?

    Then, determine which accounts you want to apply for and what the requirements are. For example, in addition to business formation documents, there may be financial stipulations regarding your credit. Be prepared and gather all documentation beforehand.

    The last step is to make your first deposit, which can usually be done via electronic cash transfer, written check, or cash deposit.

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    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

    Which bank is best for small businesses?

    Though the best bank truly depends on your specific needs, US Bank is one potentially attractive option for small businesses. There are no monthly fees for its Silver Business Package and the institution offers different options as your business grows. Meanwhile, online banks such as Bank Novo can be a great free starter option for freelancers looking for a business bank account that doesn’t require a heavy lift.

    How many bank accounts do I need for my small business?

    There is really no limit to the number of bank accounts that you can have for your small business. However, keep in mind that the more accounts you have, the more effort it will take to manage them all. Start with one in the category you need and open more as it becomes necessary.

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    Should You Open a Business Savings Account?

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    Reasons You Might Need Another Account Besides Checking

    Savings accounts are joint for personal use, but as a small business owner, you may have considered whether it’s worth opening this account for your business.

    To help guide your decision, we’ll discuss what business savings accounts are; cover their benefits and limitations; address the timing of when to open a business savings account, and answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.

    What Is a Business Savings Account?

    A business savings account can often be opened with a business checking account. A business checking account is typically used for revenue and regular transactions such as paying bills and making purchases, and business savings accounts are reserved for storing funds.

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    Business owners can move money between checking and savings accounts according to their financial demands. Usually, money is kept in the savings account and moved into the checking account as needed. Below, we’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of having savings account for your business.

    What Is the Point of a Savings Account?

    There are several reasons why small business owners might consider opening savings accounts. We’ll discuss a few of the everyday purposes.

    Save for the Unexpected

    Savings accounts are great places to store cash to prepare for the unexpected– both good and bad. Having a rainy-day fund for emergencies or unanticipated expenses is essential for small businesses and can bring peace of mind to you as the owner. Cash on hand can also allow you to take advantage of business growth opportunities without jumping through all the hoops involved with borrowing money.

    Plan for Upcoming Expenses

    Spending money regularly can help you plan for future costs and invest in your business’s growth. Budgeting in advance to prepare for upcoming expenses such as renovations, business taxes, or even retirement can help to alleviate financial stressors.

    Earn Interest

    You can earn more interest– money that the bank pays you for using your funds– by keeping your cash in a savings account than you would in checking. Some savings accounts, such as a high-yield account, have a higher interest rate or annual percentage yield (APY) than others.

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    Prevent Overdrafts

    Linking a business’s checking account to its savings account can help prevent overdraft fees. If there aren’t enough funds in the checking account to cover expenses, money can be automatically transferred from the savings account. This can help protect against unexpected fines.

    Increase Security

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) typically protects business savings accounts. If a bank cannot pay you back your money or has closed down, the FDIC will ensure that your funds are repaid up to an insurance limit of $250,000.

    Limitations of a Savings Account.

    While savings accounts can come with many benefits for your small business, there are some limitations to consider before opening an account. For instance, savings accounts may require a minimum balance to prevent you from being charged a fee. You must meet this minimum threshold to avoid regularly paying money to maintain an account.

    There is also an opportunity cost of keeping too much of your funds stashed away. If you own more money than necessary in your business savings account, you could take advantage of opportunities to grow your business or invest the funds in places that might bring higher returns.

    When You Should Open a Business Savings Account.

    Savings accounts can be very beneficial for business use. Business owners should be attentive to a bank’s terms and potential fees when deciding where to open an account.

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    However, opening up a savings account may not be as much of a priority if your business is still relatively new or needs more income to meet the minimum account balance requirements.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

    What do I need to have to open a business savings account?

    The documents required to open a business bank account will vary depending on the bank. Most banks usually request you provide your business’s employer identification number (EIN). However, if you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll use your Social Security number, formation documents, ownership agreements, and business license.

    Which types of savings accounts will earn you the most money?

    High-yield savings accounts can be an excellent option to earn more money from interest than traditional accounts. When deciding where to open a high-yield savings account, pay attention to account details such as the annual percentage yield (APY), fees charged, and minimum balance requirements.

    How many business banking accounts should I have?

    There is no set answer regarding the number of business banking accounts a small business should have– it depends on the business’s financial needs and goals. Having multiple business banking accounts can help keep your finances organized, make it easier to prove your creditworthiness, increase security, and take advantage of various offerings. However, the more accounts you have, the more complicated it can manage, as each may come with its own set of fees and requirements.

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    Business

    Buying vs. Leasing a Car for Business: What’s the Difference?

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    Many small business owners may find that a car becomes necessary to operate their businesses, whether starting or aiming to grow their ventures to the next level.

    The first step in this process is deciding whether buying or leasing a car for business purposes is best for you. The main difference between the two is that buying a car gives the business complete ownership, allowing it to customize and put on unlimited miles. However, leasing a vehicle for your business can mean lower monthly payments. To help you with your decision, here are some considerations when choosing a business car lease versus purchase.

    Payments

    Buying and leasing a business vehicle comes with initial costs that may dictate your choice. Buying a car can take a significant down payment, affecting your immediate cash flow. Leasing a car, however, typically requires a security deposit, usually equal to one month’s payment rounded up.

    Many business owners take out loans from banking institutions to purchase a car outright, creating higher monthly payments toward the loan’s interest first and principal second. Buying a vehicle takes up short-term cash flow and could affect your ability to take out additional loans for the business. Yet this translates into long-term value as you have a stable asset on your balance sheet.

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    Leasing a car can mean lower monthly payments to free up your immediate cash flow. Because of smaller amounts, you can afford to drive an updated vehicle that generally would be out of your price range. However, going from one lease to the next can lead to higher costs over the long run.2 Buying a car becomes a more favorable option for value over time because payments stop once the loan is paid off.

    Maintenance.

    Regularly scheduled maintenance checks and repairs are crucial to keeping your asset running smoothly. But how you take care of maintenance depends on whether you lease or buy.

    Depending on the agreement, leased vehicles include some form of maintenance, some repairs, and even free oil changes, which can alleviate the stress of vehicle repair. A lease also covers essential wear and tear, although anything out of the ordinary will result in fines. Buying a vehicle places the responsibility solely in the hands of the owner. You bear the cost of scheduling and repairs, although excessive wear and tear isn’t a concern.

    Mileage.

    Deciding whether to buy or lease a car for a small business means being clear on the purpose of the vehicle. Knowing this will help you figure out how many miles you plan on putting on in a year.

    A lease agreement comes with a mileage allowance that dictates how many miles you can put on the vehicle. When you go above the budget, you start incurring mileage fees, which add up quickly. Prices range anywhere from 10 cents to 50 cents per additional mile.

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    Mileage considerations can make buying a car a more cost-effective decision in the long run. You don’t need to limit your drive time or hold yourself to a set amount of miles because your ownership gives you complete authority.

    Customization.

    Some small businesses may want to utilize vehicle marketing by outfitting their automobile with company decals and stickers. Buying a car gives you the option to customize it however you prefer.

    A leased car must be returned near showroom condition, apart from normal wear and tear. Customizations are not allowed for these vehicles or may result in significant fees.

    Tax Benefits.

    A small business reaps considerable tax advantages when utilizing a specific vehicle for company operations. An owned car can use depreciation and standard rate or actual costs as deductions. A leased car can use the standard rate or substantial cost as an expense, but not both.

    Depreciation: Depreciation is the amount you can deduct over the vehicle’s lifespan that accounts for a drop in value. A car becomes less valuable over time from wear and tear and mileage accrual, which can be claimed as a deduction.

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    Standard rate: As determined by the IRS, a business owner can deduct the standard mileage rate for business miles driven using the traditional rate method for the lease. This must be started in the first year the car is available to your business. The standard mileage rate was 58.5 cents per mile for the first half of 2022, and for the final six months of 2022, the standard mileage rate is 62.5 cents per mile.

    Actual cost: You can use the exact cost method to deduct the expenses associated with operating a vehicle, including gas, oil, repairs, and depreciation or lease payments.

    Which Is Right for Your Business?

    Deciding whether to lease versus buy for business depends on your circumstances and how you weigh the different considerations. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology for small business car leasing or ownership, but there are a few questions to answer that can provide clarity on what works best for you at any given time.

    • How much money do you currently have for a down payment?
    • How many miles do you think you’ll put on in a year?
    • Do you want any customization on your business vehicle?
    • How will the car be used, and will that incur abnormal wear and tear?
    • Do you want to deal with maintenance yourself?

    Every business case will be different regarding buying or leasing a vehicle. Buying a car offers a long-term investment if you have enough borrowing power and cash flow. Further, if your business will need to use a vehicle extensively, purchasing a car outright means you aren’t limited to a specific amount of miles.

    On the other hand, a more limited cash flow may make leasing a car a much better decision. Renting a car is also best for a business owner who doesn’t want to take care of maintenance or desires the latest vehicle on the market.

    Best of Both Worlds Option.

    Some leasing agencies may offer a chance to purchase the vehicle once the lease ends. Also known as a lease buyout, this is a fantastic option to keep your cash flow available during the lease while also investing in a long-term asset. Reach out to a few leasing agencies to explore adding this to your lease terms.

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    Finally, your business growth may call for a change in vehicle ownership. You always have the option to lease a car first and buy one after that lease ends if it’s a more financially sound decision.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

    Is it better to lease or finance a car for tax purposes?

    Both buying and leasing give you tax advantages with adequate recordkeeping. Buying a car means you can use depreciation as a deduction if you use the vehicle at least 50% of the time for business purposes. Buying and leasing also suggest using a standard or actual cost method to deduct things such as mileage or lease payments, gas, and repair.

    When starting a small business, is it better to buy or lease a car?

    This answer differs for every business. Small business owners need to consider the vehicle’s purpose, how often it will be driven, and what level of maintenance they’re comfortable putting on their shoulders (or wallets).

    How can I ensure my business car?

    A business car must be insured just like a personal vehicle. You can work with a local insurance agent or business advisor to find the best insurance coverage and prices. Leasing and buying may also affect coverage type and price.

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