On Monday, the Akron City Council joined many others across the country in taking a stand following the recent massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The council called on state lawmakers to ban military style assault weapons, limit magazines to no more than 10 bullets, bar bump stocks and trigger cranks, both devices used to escalate a weapon’s firing capacity.

Will the declaration make a difference? Gov. John Kasich has opened the door to such changes, while keeping Ohioans in the dark about his process. He has limited influence with fellow Republicans in charge of the legislature, many long in the thrall of the gun lobby.

There also is an echo of Democratic Party politics, the race for governor, in particular. Councilwoman Tara Samples is the running mate of Dennis Kucinich. They have sought an edge in the current primary race by casting doubt on Richard Cordray’s commitment to gun regulation.

That said, this is a moment for making your voice heard. It also is time for weighing the potential effectiveness of policy steps, in this instance, a ban on assault weapons, the AR-15 used by the killer in Parkland.

The National Rifle Association is quick to say the federal assault weapons ban, in place for a decade starting in 1994, made no impression. No surprise, the outcome is more complicated. Research shows gun crimes with assault weapons did decline during the ban. It also is true the use of guns with large capacity magazines expanded, eroding the ban’s impact.

Most telling, researchers note the ban did not have sufficient time to see its full potential. It was slower to take effect because it included the grandfathering of roughly 1.5 million assault weapons.

The thinking is, a sustained ban would restrict the availability of these powerful weapons and thus reduce the devastating results. The numbers may not be large compared to the 30,000 gun-related deaths each year (two-thirds involving suicides). Still, saving hundreds of lives is significant.

Add the restrictions on bump stocks, trigger cranks and magazines, and the margin of safety widens further.

With Congress and the White House struggling to act, governors and state lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, have moved to fill the policy void. Yet, when it comes to an assault weapons ban, there are limits to what state and local governments can achieve.

Chicago presents a good example. The city has strict gun regulations yet also a high rate of gun crime. Part of the reason is neighboring Indiana, where buying a firearm is much easier, guns flowing across the border.

As a result, welcome though the state initiatives are, a national ban on assault weapons would be most effective. Even then, it hardly promises to make a major dent in gun violence. It belongs as part of the larger set of actions, designed to advance public safety while respecting gun rights.