missouri

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

Unusual winter weather and heavy rainfall have caused major flooding in Missouri and southern Illinois, leading to swollen rivers, voluntary evacuations and road closures. The governors of both states declared a state of emergency, and water levels on the Mississippi River shattered records.

President Barack Obama detailed Tuesday his efforts to reduce gun violence nationwide, including requiring background checks, creating stricter licensing for firearms sellers, and increasing access to mental health care.

In his speech, Obama referred to Missouri, which has made headlines for its increasing homicide rate and its loosening of gun control laws. He said:

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder may have put U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in a difficult position with his harsh comments about a law Blunt originally co-sponsored when he served in the U.S. House.

The law establishes federal standards for issuing driver’s licenses. Residents of a few states, including Missouri and Illinois, whose licenses don’t comply could be denied access to federal facilities or commercial airplanes. Passports will work if federal agencies say those licenses are no longer acceptable government issued identification.

Updated at 4:50 p.m.  - More than a dozen people have died as a result of historic flooding throughout Missouri. And the state isn’t out of the wood just yet.

In a briefing with local officials in Franklin County, Gov. Jay Nixon said that 14 people have died as a result of flooding. Most of the deaths occurred after people tried to drive through floodwater.

“If we could say anything over and over and over – it’s don’t drive into water,” Nixon said.

As Interstates 55 and 44 remain closed, area residents need alternate routes. Missouri drivers should check www.modot.org, and Illinois drivers should go to www.idot.illinois.gov/home/Comm/emergency-road-closures.

Volunteer opportunities are being coordinated through STLVolunteer.org

Check the Army Corps of Engineers website for river levels.

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