You do not need a CHP in NC to open carry. For buying a handgun, you need to acquire a Pistol Purchase Permit [PPP] from the Sheriff's Department in the county you live in. To open carry in NC you need to be able to legally own a handgun, I believe there is no distinction between a loaded handgun and a unloaded handgun in the law.
My wife and I both open carry now, I have taken the Conceal Carry class but have not filed for a license. Just need to study up on places you cannot carry into.
Also, if you open carry, three essential pieces of equipment needed [In my opinion] 1. The handgun 2. A good holster [I like my Blackhawk Serpa personally] 3. A good quality voice recording device to have on you for CYA purposes.
Check out this link to help start your research http://opencarry.org/nc.html