May marked the third consecutive month with record-high gun sales, with more than 1.7 million sold. Roughly six million guns have been sold since the coronavirus outbreak began in March.
May's sales hit an all-time record for the month and was an 80% increase from May 2019, according to an analysis by Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting.
"Firearms sales have surged in unprecedented ways," Jurgen Brauer, the group's chief economist, said in a statement. "The boom in handgun sales has been particularly noticeable in recent months."
May's record-setting sales follow 1.8 million guns sold in April and 2.5 million guns sold in March. The sales have been mostly driven by new gun owners, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
"Our recent survey of firearm retailers shows us that 40% of these gun buyers are buying a firearm for the first time," Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement. "Of those first-time gun owners, 40% are women and these buyers are overwhelmingly purchasing handguns for personal protection."
The sales come as the death toll from the coronavirus rose to more than 100,000, unemployment topped 20%, and riots broke out of the death of George Floyd.
The analysis of gun sales is based on data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System.