David Kopel, at the Volokh Conspiracy, analyzes the actual language of Senator Toomey's and Senator Manchin's gun control bill.
The Toomey-Manchin Amendment which may be offered as soon as Tuesday to Senator Reid’s gun control bill are billed as a “compromise” which contain a variety of provisions for gun control, and other provisions to enhance gun rights. Some of the latter, however, are not what they seem. They are badly miswritten, and are in fact major advancements for gun control. In particular:
The provision which claims to outlaw national gun registration in fact authorizes a national gun registry.
The provision which is supposed to strengthen existing federal law protecting the interstate transportation of personal firearms in fact cripples that protection.
On April 17, after the bill died, the President had this to say.
They claimed that it would create some sort of “big brother” gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry. Plain and simple, right there in the text.
Except that, as Kopel showed, the bill only outlawed some registries, leaving the government free to enact others. It also posed a danger to gun owners who drive through anti-gun states. The way I read the relevant legislative language, the Senate was right to vote against the bill and the President was wrong to accuse them of acting in bad faith.