You're welcome, nocturnal. And for you other questions:
Open carry is based on common law and court precedents. There are only a few statutory laws that address open carry, such as prohibited place restrictions that apply to all firearms, whether carried openly or concealed.
The Attorney General is not pro-gun and his admonition about "going armed to the terror of the public" (GATOP) is, shall we say, excessively cautious. The 1843 precedent
for GATOP involved a man riding around waving a shotgun and publicly declaring his intent to kill another man. The court ruled that "... the carrying of a gun, per se, constitutes no offence. For any lawful purpose--either of business or amusement--the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose, and the mischievous result, which essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about this or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people." GATOP charges in NC are rare, and rightfully so. See this local discussion
for more details.
If you open carry, make sure you do carry openly. An open carry gun that is temporarily or partially concealed is an invitation to hassles based on LEO discretion.
You will have to decide the cost and benefits of a CHP versus PPP. The CHP initially costs $90 and is good for 5 years, with renewal costing $75. I have seen the firearms safety course required as a per-requisite for the CHP cost anywhere from $50 to $150, but typically around $75. Each PPP costs $5 and is good for 5 years. Different Sheriffs have different policies for PPP; some will only issue one PPP at a time and limit the total you can get in a year, while others will issue up to 5 at a time and repeat as often as you want. Paradoxically, PPP are effectively "may issue" because the subjective requirement of being "of good moral character" is a factor that a Sheriff considers; CHP is "shall issue" based on qualifications that are all objective requirements listed in state law.