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WASHINGTON (AP) - Gun control supporters have won the first Senate showdown over restricting firearms, rejecting an effort by conservatives to derail a package of gun curbs before debate could even begin.
The 68-31 vote gave an initial burst of momentum to efforts by President Barack Obama and lawmakers, mostly Democrats, to impose gun restrictions following the December carnage at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Gun control supporters needed 60 votes to block the conservatives.
The legislation would subject more firearms buyers to federal background checks, strengthen laws against illicit gun trafficking and increase school safety aid. Advocates say the measures would make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get weapons.
Opponents say the restrictions would violate the Constitution's right to bear arms and would be ignored by criminals.
The American Red Cross St. Louis Area Chapter is moving the Hazelwood shelter to the civic center at 8969 Dunn Road because Armstrong Elementary School does not have power.
Six people spent the night in the Red Cross shelter at Armstrong Elementary last night after tornadoes ripped through the North St. Louis community.
Red Cross disaster assessment teams will begin canvassing tornado damaged neighborhoods in Hazelwood this morning, after police and fire have determined the area is safe.
Downed power lines and a gas leak have prevented first responders from allowing assessment teams in the affected areas. Assessments are required before the Red Cross can begin casework. Volunteers will likely start damage assessments sometime Thursday morning. Caseworkers expect to meet with clients Thursday afternoon.
Anyone in need of Red Cross assistance should call 314.516.2700. Those wishing to donate to the relief effort can call 314.516.2800 or visit redcross.org.
The Red Cross will provide safe shelter and warm food to those affected by the storm until other arrangements are available.
Metro reports due to wires down, trees down and debris in roadways following last night's severe weather, especially in the North St. Louis County area, the following MetroBus routes are being rerouted until further notice:
#45 Ferguson Florissant
#4174 New Halls Ferry Express
Metro says they are unable to serve the Patterson/Lindbergh area at this time. "We ask our MetroBus customers to be patient and allow extra time for their commutes this morning as the situation no doubt will keep changing with regard to streets being opened and closed. Customers should use extreme care in walking to their bus stops in the areas where storm damage was heavy."
Metro Call-A-Ride: Customers will be contacted if Metro Call-A-Ride vans do not have access to their streets.
MetroLink: Normal service this morning. Trains are running on time.