The emotive, the technical, and the inflammatory characterised most of the submissions on the Government's plans to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles at select committee today.
"There are spaces in our mosques that for us will never be filled," said Islamic Women's Council spokeswoman Anjum Rahman.
"The solace for us will be the removal of the weapons that can take so many lives in so short a time."
There was a touch of incredulity in her tone when she spoke of how gun owners had talked about feeling demonised.
"We as a [Muslim] community know all about that. We are one of the most demonised groups in the country, and the country, the Government, Parliament needs to understand how that demonisation impacts our safety."
Gun groups mainly focused on the technical aspects of the bill.
There were those, including Pistol NZ, that pushed for an exemption for semi-automatics for domestic and international shooting competitions, whose participants are already subjected to stringent conditions.
Not doing so would deny a few thousand competitors, but it will be hard to convince the committee; Cabinet has already considered this exemption, and so far rejected it.
Police union boss Chris Cahill pointed out the inherent problem: any exemption is dangerous because, frankly, guns get stolen.
For the same reason, he argued that collectors should have their antique weapons permanently disabled, even if - as contended by the Antique and Historical Arms Association - they became as worthless as scrap metal.
Hunting groups pleaded for semi-automatic shotgun magazines to have seven cartridges, rather than the proposed limit of five. This would be more practical and less costly, rather than forcing gun owners to hand in their seven-capacity shotguns, and then immediately buy five-capacity ones.
Federated Farmers and the NZ Deerstalkers' Association pushed for the need for semi-automatic guns for pest control.
"As these pests can be in large groups, they require quick follow-up shots as they are highly mobile and can disappear very quickly on large, broken terrain," said Marlborough high-country farmer Scott Adams.
But that was countered by the Rural Women NZ spokeswoman Angela McLeod, who said: "If there is a perceived need for semi-automatic firearms, then the shooter needs to learn how to shoot."
A survey of the Rural Women NZ membership showed 88 per cent support for the banning of MSSAs and assault rifles; 60 per cent said there was no need for semi-automatic firearms on the farm at all.
Gun City owner David Tipple came across as civil in comparison, and voiced valid concerns about whether the bill would kill off business and income and whether the Government should cover those losses.
He then undermined his credibility by calling Newshub journalists "terrorists".
He was among those, including the Law Society, to criticise the haste of the bill's progression.
Such haste increases the chances of poor wording with unintended consequences, such as banning parts of air soft and paintball guns, or flipping the legal principle of being innocent until proven guilty; the bill as drafted may infer guilt for possession if you're found with an MSSA, and you'd have to prove otherwise.
But the reasons for urgent action, whether you agree or not, were eloquently articulated by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, who said New Zealand will not be defined by the events of March 15.
"We are defined by your response, your willingness as a Parliament to take action to fix a wrong that should have been remedied 27 years ago.
"I sat where you sit in 1992 listening to submissions after a very determined Minister [John Banks] was unable to muster the numbers on the Government benches, let alone across the House, for the MSSA ban that needed to happen in the wake of the tragedy of Aramoana.
"It was heartbreaking."
That failure led to the abhorrent thought about what level of tragedy would be required to warrant a political response.
"It is tragic today to know now what that has meant: 50 people have died, many more injured, over 100 families affected and a whole city in grief," Dalziel said.
"The law change must happen without delay. Give no time to those who seek to defend the indefensible. The ban will save lives."
- This column was initially published without being correctly labelled as an opinion piece