The president of the New York City Bar, Carey Dunne, called yesterday for the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings to prompt renewed efforts to impose restrictions on gun sales and possession. Dunne said the massacre exposes the “absurdity” of the argument that semiautomatic weapons are needed for citizens to protect themselves. “While no one law would have prevented all of these mass shootings, there is much that can be done to regulate firearms, consistent with the Second Amendment, to make it harder for potential mass murderers,” said Dunne, a partner at David Polk & Wardwell.

Dunne advocated reinstituting the federal ban on assault weapons, which expired in 2004, and broadening the definition of an “assault weapon” to include more weapons whose primary purpose is not self-defense or hunting. He also urged that tighter restrictions be placed on the sales of assault-style weapons, including on the secondary market for gun purchases, and that liability be established through a private right of action against someone who sells a firearm in violation of the law.

The New York State Bar Association does not have a formal policy on gun sales restrictions and did not expect to make an immediate statement on public policy in light of the Newtown shootings, a spokesman said yesterday.