In an op-ed published today on PennLive.com, Casey Ark challenges the long-standing conservative myth that stronger gun laws err from the founding ideals of the country. He cites disturbing, yet unsurprising statistics, which reveal that our country’s gun violence is not exemplary, but in fact humiliating on a global scale. “The U.S. leads all developed countries in gun deaths per capita, with 3.6 per 100,000 residents,” writes Ark. “To put that in perspective – that’s about 15 times higher than the combined rate of all other developed countries.”

Ideological battles over gun reform often lead only to scholarly constitutional debate; but Ark argues that our meticulous concern for the founders’ words has blinded us from their true intentions. “These were people who experienced ineffective and dangerous legislation, and set out to change it,” Ark explains of the founding fathers. “It seems quite odd that now, out of respect to the laws they wrote, we’ve forgotten the spirit of their creation.”

Eliminating gun violence in our country won’t have the founders rolling in their graves; it will have them patting themselves on the back. And if we want to realize their lofty goals, then lawmakers and citizens alike need to take concrete action to improve the nation’s safety—now.

Read Ark’s op-ed here.