WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. senator from West Virginia wants to reassure people he is not trying to take their guns away.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Tuesday he is working on measures where people wanting to purchase a gun go through a criminal and mental background check.
He reiterated his support of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the rights of citizens to have and bare arms.
''No one is trying to take their guns away,'' Manchin said. ''No one is trying to take their rights away.''
A member of the National Rifle Association and a owner of a number of guns, Manchin has come under fire lately for supporting what some people view as stricter gun control legislation, which he says has been twisted and turned around by some to create rumors and to scare people into thinking something that is not true.
Following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., Manchin has talked about having discussions on reasonable ways to keep weapons out of the hands of people who would perpetrate these kinds of acts.
He had been involved in working on a compromise bill with other senators to strengthen background checks. Currently, background checks are required only for sales by federally licensed gun dealers, of which there are more than 55,000. However, background checks are not required for sales at gun shows that are person-to-person sales or private transactions.
Some people do not trust the government and when they see something like the background checks he is working on, they believe it won't stop and will eventually lead to having their guns taken away, the Senator said.
''The only thing I am working on right now with this is criminal and mental background checks,'' Manchin said. ''All of the other stuff is just lies.''