While gun ownership in the UK is perhaps more tightly controlled than in any other European country, with gun crime constituting less than 1% of total crime, it is a fact that guns and incidents involving firearms are a quotidian feature of modern city life. So much so that out of the almost 11,000 firearms offences committed each year in England and Wales, most are not even reported in the media.

In London there is a shooting once a day; there are on average two and a half fatal woundings each month. Figures are higher up north. In Manchester two and a half offences occur each day; most of those are committed by young men between the ages of 15 and 20.

The latest victim of UK gun crime, in Manchester’s Moss Side district — dubbed ‘the British Bronx’ — was not gang-connected, according to detectives. He was a nice kid, a softly spoken 15 year old, his mother’s “precious baby”, who often helped his pastor at the local Seventh Day Adventist Church.

He stopped 3 bullets from a semi-automatic weapon. Police said yesterday they believe the killing was a case of mistaken identity.

Last night his mother spelt out his name in candles on the patio of the house where he lived.

His name was Jesse James.

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