New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is trying to have it both ways on gun control, and he can't. He is either for sensible and lawful regulation, or he isn't. And voters should so note.

Mr. Christie was in Connecticut this week to campaign for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley. The visit drew protesters who objected to the New Jersey governor's veto earlier this month of a bill that would have reduced the legal capacity of ammunition magazines from 15 to no more than 10 rounds, and to Mr. Christie's refusal to meet with families of the Newtown massacre of 2012 to discuss the bill.

In rejecting the bill, Mr. Christie used words such as "trivial" and "arbitrary" and said it would do nothing to reduce gun violence. We disagree. In the case of a mass shooting, as happened in Newtown and in Arizona, people escaped when the shooter had to reload. If a gunman is willing to die, the objective should be to slow him down until police arrive. If magazine capacity may help achieve that goal, it should be part of gun legislation. Finally, no one besides law enforcement and the military needs high-capacity magazines.

Mr. Christie did call for changes in the state's mental health system.

He has walked this line before. The Newark Star-Ledger reported: "Although Christie signed some gun-related bills pushed by Democrats last year in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, he either vetoed or significantly altered more far-reaching bills, including a ban on .50-caliber rifles that he had previously called for himself."

The context here is that Mr. Christie is a likely contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, and as such faces pressure from gun rights organizations, "including one in New Hampshire that warned last year that he would have a hard time winning the state's first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary if he signed gun control bills," the newspaper reported.

With this and the bridge scandal facing the feisty New Jersey governor, Mr. Foley has to wonder how much help he's going to be.