A newbie looking at firearms discussion forums will frequently see confusing references that look like they date back to the Civil War. In gun owner circles, a "free state" is any state which does not have particularly restrictive firearms laws. Most of the United States is free, however states such as California, Hawaii, New York, and much of the northeast US are burdened by highly restrictive firearms laws. Usually these states have bans on "assault weapons", magazine capacity limits, or even legislation prohibiting or tightly restricting the ownership of handguns.
-- SeanNewton - 25 Jan 2006