The "360 rule" is NOT a law. It is a BS judgment call used by certain LEOs to harass law-abiding citizens and rob them of their lawfully-possessed personal property, because they don't like the idea of OC.
Nowhere in the NC statute does it say that an openly carried firearm must be visible from all sides. In fact, "concealed" is not defined ANYWHERE in the NC General Codes...
However, in the official NC CHP written exam there is a question that addresses this:
Q: The general definition of “concealed” means the handgun:It doesn't say "visible from all directions" or "visible from 360 degrees" or any other such physically impossible foolishness. It says that if a firearms is visible by a member of the public (meaning not intentionally obscured by clothing, or hidden in a bag, briefcase, or other package, or other materials) then it is is NOT considered to be "concealed"
A: Is not visible to a member of the public.
Carrying a handgun in a proper OWB holster is 100% legal in NC (well, it's legal if you are not a prohibited person, and aren't drinking alcohol, or in a "prohibited place" like a bar or a movie theater, or Post office, or on the public streets of the city of Cary, etc).
Any NC LEO who tries to tell you that OC is not legal is either ignorant of the law (and therefore will HOPEFULLY be corrected by his supervisor who you should contact ASAP after the incident is over, or the Courts, should he be foolish enough to attempt to arrest or charge you with a non-existent crime), or is a power-hungry thug who is threatened by the idea of a Free and Armed Citizenry, in which case, We the People need to proceed with haste to use every administrative tactic we can to correct his attitude, or remove him from the profession...
There were a few cities in WV a few years ago where the LEOs tried to discourage OC by using this non-existent "360 rule" to charge people with CC because they "couldn't see the gun when approaching from the other side". Each and every case was tossed by the courts, and a few resulted in lawsuits with substantial payouts in the form of "settlements offered before trial" to get the citizens to shut up and go away, and to keep case precedents from being set by court rulings. However, LEAs in WV have pretty much STOPPED this silly behavior, and OC has become relatively hassle-free now in WV.
Perhaps the same thing needs to start happening her in NC. It seems that a few LEAs have got the idea that this "360 rule" is something they can use to discourage lawful OC, and if we let them get away with it, they will push and push until it DOES become acceptable practice.
I think the reason this is cropping up more and more in NC is that we have been VERY effective in educating the People and LEAs about the TRUE nature of GAttTotP ("Going Armed to the Terror of the People"--an ancient, outdated, and silly bit of Common Law that we've been trying for YEARS to get removed from the books), and when it is and is NOT applicable. OC-hostile LEOs have pretty much been stripped of the ability to threaten Lawful OCers with GAttTotP because of this education, and they are grasping at straws.
We must NEVER give up the fight for our 2A rights. If we let them have an inch, they will push and push until we wake up one day to find OC is no longer legal in NC. And that would indeed be a tragic loss of Liberty...
- Know the law.
- Be polite--ESPECIALLY when LEOs are rude to you.
- Carry a voice recorder.
- NEVER argue the law with an LEO--that is what the courts--and administrative complaints--are for...
And NEVER, EVER just pay a fine or settle on a citation when you know it to be wrong, unlawfully issued, or unjustly charged. The Courts belong to the PEOPLE, and they are generally on OUR side--especially when the police KNOW they are wrong and try to bully us out of exercising our Constitutional Rights.
The law is clear--ESPECIALLY when it DOESN'T speak to an issue.
Lack of a definition=they can't make a definition up to suit their own agenda.
Lack of a prohibition=LEGAL.
Open Carry is legal in NC.
End of discussion.
Now, all that said, you might have a few other issues to contend with. You are young (just turned 21) so many LEOs are going to be suspicious of you OCing, and the bad ones are going to see you as an easy mark for intimidation and potential arrest and theft of your property.
You need to KNOW THE LAW. You should consult an attorney, and carry his business card with you in your wallet. Sometimes, the mere mention of contacting your attorney is enough to send a bad cop scurrying away light a roach from the light...
You need to know your rights, and know HOW to exercise them. You have the RIGHT to REMAIN SILENT. Remember, there is NOTHING you can say that will be used by a cop to HELP your case--everything you say CAN and WILL be used against you.
In NC, if you are OCing, there is NO requirement to produce any sort of identifying document like a drivers license or other ID. You need to identify yourself (which you can do verbally) if they ask for ID. The ONLY time you need to produce a document for ID is if you are operating a vehicle, or you are carrying concealed and have a permit. But NOWHERE in the NC General Codes is there a requirement to produce an ID for OC.
I'd suggest you go to several OC meetups in your area and talk to some of the more experienced OCers. There are a LOT of us in NC, and we're pretty spread around, so it should be easy to find a few people who know the laws in your area.
And ask a LOT of questions here on OCDO. We have a REALLY good group on this forum, and there are several NC members that are VERY willing to write on and on (like me...) about the laws in NC, and help set you straight.
Essentially it comes to this--NEVER ask a cop or a CHP instructor about what is and is not legal when it comes to OC. Cops don't know (as a general rule, they just don't get much training on carry law at the academy) and CHP instructors have a vested interest to scare people away from OC because it takes money from their pockets.
NC carry laws are VERY convoluted, and can be complicated and difficult to navigate. There are a LOT of places you CAN'T legally carry--even with a CHP (Concealed Handgun Permit), so you need to be aware of those exceptions. And there are a LOT of urban myths floating around out there--most of which are perpetuated by cops and CHP instructors--about Open Carry.
Welcome. Good Luck. Ask lots of questions. And STUDY the law.