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WASHINGTON – President Obama today issued a sweeping executive order banning the manufacture, sale and possession of all semi-automatic firearms in the U.S.

Obama cited for his authority for the action a national state of emergency that has been in effect ever since Sept. 11, 2001, and renewed annually by both President George W. Bush and Obama ever since. He also cited portions of the Patriot Act that suspend certain civil rights that remain classified.

The dramatic action by the president follows closely on the heels of the Newtown, Conn., massacre of 27 schoolchildren and teachers by Adam Lanza a week ago.

Gun-control advocates have been pushing for tighter gun control ever since the attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the fourth mass shooting in the U.S. in 2012.

Yet the action was surprising because Obama vowed to present a detailed plan of action in January after naming Vice President Joe Biden to head a blue-ribbon panel including Cabinet members, law enforcement officials and various agencies of the government. Biden convened the first meeting of the panel only yesterday.

That’s how quickly it could happen.

That’s how liberty could be lost in America in one day.

For many, today was the day the world was supposed to end, according to the Mayan calendar and other ancient documents.

It didn’t, of course. But a scenario like the above would certainly change the world in an instant. The last great hope for mankind and freedom could be turned upside-down in the name of national security and safety.

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