Manchin believes that change will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, while protecting Second Amendment rights.
"We're not talking about anybody taking anybody's guns away," Manchin told the Wall Street Journal. "All I'm talking about is doing a criminal and mental background check."
Opponents believe expanding the checks is a first step toward gun registration, which is anathema to the gun lobby.
However, Manchin says the legislation would explicitly prohibit the federal government from creating a registry and imposes serious criminal penalties for anyone who misuses or illegally holds gun records.
It's logical and reasonable that if gun buyers at federally licensed dealers have to go through background checks, then other purchasers should be subject to the same rules.
Nobody is talking about taking away guns or creating a federal registry. This would be a modest step to help keep criminals and the mentally ill from getting their hands on firearms.
Manchin's problem is that he needs Republican help.
Without more support from the other side of the aisle, Manchin and other pro-gun Democrats won't be able to push through a compromise gun bill that extends the background checks.
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.