USAToday Every day in America, gun toll rivals Va. Tech Wed May 2, 6:56 AM ET Americans recoiled in horror when a deranged student shot 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech on April 16. But few realize that about the same number of people were probably shot to death in the USA the next day, and the day after that and the day after that. An average of 32 people die in gun homicides every day, year after year. No one compiles an instant total of the nation's day-to-day shootings, but a quick search of newspaper stories turned up a familiar, depressing toll in the days after the massacre in Blacksburg, Va. Because these were not mass killings, they were considered strictly local news. Near Pittsburgh, a 48-year-old pizza delivery man was lured to an ambush by a phony order and killed by a shotgun blast as he tried to run away. In the same region, an 86-year-old retired railroad worker was shot in the head and left with his pockets turned out. In northern Montana, a 13-year-old boy was shot by police after he allegedly stole a car and shot at them. In Chicago, a 15-year-old boy was shot at 7:30 in the morning on his bike in front of a CVS drugstore. And on and on, throughout the United States. The point isn't that guns are inherently evil, or that they should be confiscated or banned. The nation has had that conversation for decades and settled for an uneasy ambivalence, deploring gun violence but fiercely protecting the right of Americans to bear arms - with some restrictions. It's those restrictions that are at issue now. Even though the National Rifle Association's aggressive tactics have made many members of Congress leery of touching gun control, polls suggest Americans support incremental new restrictions and tougher enforcement of existing laws. Here are three changes that could save lives: â€¢Improve databases. No one with a history of mental illness as profound as the Virginia Tech shooter's should be able to buy guns legally, as he did, twice. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine took an important step Monday, moving to ensure that the state includes mental illness findings in the instant background checks gun buyers usually undergo. A bill in Congress would require other states to follow and give them resources they need to do it. â€¢Close the "gun show loophole." Federally licensed dealers are required to run background checks on would-be buyers, in stores or at gun shows. But "collectors" or private owners who don't make their living selling guns don't need a license and can sell without background checks. More than a dozen states have closed that loophole without stopping gun shows. It's time to do it nationally. â€¢Renew the assault weapons ban. This 1994 law, which outlawed or restricted military-style semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, expired in 2004 when President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress declined to renew it. Experienced shooters can swap out smaller magazines in seconds, but in at least two high-profile incidents, one in front of the White House and one on a Long Island commuter train, gunmen were stopped while reloading. Besides, no one needs an assault weapon for hunting or self-defense. Although the NRA has signaled support for improving the instant checks, the gun lobby and its congressional allies continue to block other common-sense changes that could reduce the daily firearms carnage. They say it's shamefully exploitative to be discussing gun-sale restrictions at such a tragic time. It's times like this, however, that remind us of unfinished business - and of how 32 gun homicides a day are an American disgrace.