By Wednesday, Manchin was walking back his comments. On Talkline, he heaped praise on the NRA, said he opposed a renewal of the 1994 assault weapons ban, and indicated he had problems with Sen. Diane Feinstein's proposed gun control legislation.
Manchin says nothing changed, although he did admit to being more "articulate" about his position on Wednesday than Monday. And he added that his goal all along has been to have a national dialogue about all the contributors to gun violence.
"I'm not supporting a ban on anything," Manchin told me. "I'm supporting a conversation on everything."
I suspect Manchin did get stung by the negative reaction and is now trying to move back to a safer position.
During his days as governor, that would have been easy enough. He used the force of his personality to tamp down most controversies and missteps.
Washington is not nearly as forgiving. That city is driven more by rigid partisanship and crafted sound bites.
Manchin would rather bring his style to Washington than bend to the beltway's rules.
In Manchin's world, all the interested parties get in a room and hammer out a deal. He practiced that as governor - with him naturally occupying the biggest chair in the room - and he wants to do that in Washington, whether it's on gun control, the budget or any other issue.
But as Manchin found out this week, just getting the conversation going in Washington, especially on a volatile issue, is rife with political risk.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.